Two Air France pilots have been suspended after they exchanged blows in the cockpit during a flight from Geneva to Paris in June, an airline official said Sunday.
The plane had just taken off from the Swiss city when the pilot and co-pilot got into an argument that led to one of them throwing a punch and the two grabbing at each other’s collars, Switzerland’s La Tribune reported.
The cabin crew was forced to intervene, and one member stayed in the cockpit to babysit the pair for the remainder of the approximately one hour and 15 minute flight to the French capital.
The plane’s cabin crew were forced to intervene and one member stayed in the cockpit to prevent another fight from breaking out. ERIC PIERMONT/AFP via Getty Images
The mid-air brawl didn’t affect the rest of the flight, and the plane landed safely, according to an airline rep.
A spokeswoman for the airline also called the behavior of the since-grounded pilots “totally inappropriate,” Bloomberg reported.
The suspension comes amid heightened scrutiny of the Paris-based carrier over safety concerns.
France’s air investigation agency, BEA, released a report last week which concluded that the airline’s pilots have fostered a culture of not following safety procedures by the book.
The report centered on a Dec. 2020 flight from Brazzaville, in the Republic of Congo, to Paris, when the crew rerouted the plane to Chad and landed after discovering a fuel leak, but didn’t cut the engine or land as soon as possible, per leak safety procedures, which could have resulted in the engine catching fire.
The report cited three similar cases between 2017 and 2022, noting that pilots seem to be acting based on what they think is the best versus established safety protocols.
Air France said that it is conducting a safety audit in response to the report and promised to act in accordance with the agency’s recommendations.
That includes allowing pilots to study the flights after completing a journey and designing stricter training manuals when it comes to following procedures.