Two Air France pilots have been suspended after they exchanged blows in the cockpit during a flight from Geneva to Paris in June.
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 according to local news report.
The cabin crew were forced to intervene, and one member stayed in the cockpit to babysit the pair for the remainder of the one hour and 15-minute flight to the French capital.
News of the fight emerged after France’s air investigation agency, BEA, issued a report stating some Air France pilots lack rigour in respecting procedures during safety incidents.
It focused on a fuel leak on an Air France flight from Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo to Paris in December 2020.
Pilots rerouted the plane but did not cut power to the engine or land as soon as possible, as leak procedure requires. The plane landed safely in Chad, but the report warned that the engine could have caught fire.
The report also mentioned three similar cases between 2017 and 2022 and said some pilots were acting based on their own analysis of the situation instead of safety protocols.
Air France said it was carrying out a safety audit in response and pledged to follow the report’s recommendations, which included allowing pilots to study their flights afterwards and making training manuals stricter about sticking to procedures.
The airline noted that it flew thousands of flights daily while the report mentioned only four such safety incidents.
Air France pilots’ unions have insisted that security was paramount to all pilots and defended pilot actions during emergency situations.
The BEA also investigated an incident in April involving an Air France flight from New York’s JFK airport that suffered flight control problems on approach to its landing in Paris.