India's SpiceJet Pilots Grounded Over Coffee Cup In Cockpit
India's SpiceJet pilots grounded over coffee cup in cockpit.Private Indian airline, SpiceJet, has grounded two pilots for allegedly having coffee and sweets in the cockpit mid-journey.
The incident came to light after a photograph of an open cup placed on the control panel of a SpiceJet aircraft went viral earlier this week. The photo reportedly showed the flight cruising at 37,000ft, which sparked outrage and prompted India's aviation regulator to issue a warning to the airline.
Indian aviation rules allow pilots and crew to have food and beverages inside the cockpit but under strict guidelines. All cups need to have lids and be carried on a tray to avoid spillage.
"Even the slightest turbulence and coffee spills onto the electronics, it will foul the systems. This is a criminal act," said aviation expert Mohan Ranganathan, who reportedly first shared the picture on Twitter.
SpiceJet has taken two pilots, who allegedly took the picture, off-duty and stated that "appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against them upon completion of an investigation." The incident reportedly took place on a flight from Delhi to the north-eastern city of Guwahati on March 8, the day of the Hindu festival of Holi.
The photograph showed an uncovered coffee cup, which had the airline's logo, dangerously placed on a start lever of the aircraft, while the pilots had gujiyas - a sweet fried pastry traditionally had on Holi.
The post vent viral and sparked anger on social media, with people criticising the pilots for their reckless behaviour.
India Grounds Pilot For Having Coffee Cup In Cockpit
India's aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, asked SpiceJet to immediately identify the crew members. While two pilots have been grounded since then, a SpiceJet spokesperson stated that they were still trying to ascertain the exact timeline of the incident.
The airline added, "It is not clear from the post when was the photograph taken, whether it is recent or old, the sector being operated or the crew or even the aircraft in question. We are trying to ascertain these details."
The incident serves as a reminder that aviation safety guidelines must be strictly adhered to and that any violations may result in severe consequences for airline staff.