While flying, fists were flying (pun intended) inside an Air France cockpit when two Air France pilots engaged in a physical fight. The two pilots were one Captain and his First Officer colleague. The cabin crew (flight attendants) intervened to break the fight between the two aviators.
Based on an article on Switzerland’s La Tribune newspaper, “two Air France pilots were suspended after physically fighting in the cockpit on a Geneva-Paris flight in June, an Air France official said Sunday. The flight continued and landed safely, and the dispute didn’t affect the rest of the flight”, the official said, stressing the airline’s commitment to safety.
The La Tribune publication reported that a dispute between the captain and his first officer turned physical shortly after takeoff as the plane gained altitude, with the men taking each other by the collars after one possibly hit or slapped the other, according to the newspaper report. Cabin personnel heard noise in the cockpit, intervened and one member (of the cabin crew) spent the rest of the flight in the cockpit to keep an eye on the two fighting airmen.
According to an Air France official, the mid-air brawl occurred in June this year. The incident was resolved quickly, and the flight proceeded normally, she said, adding that the pilots are awaiting a decision by management on their “totally inappropriate behavior.”
The news about the fight between the two Air France pilots came at the heels of France’s air investigation agency, BEA, issuing a report on Wednesday saying some Air France pilots lack rigour with regards to respecting safety protocols.
Air France Geneva (GVA)-Paris (CDG)Route
On this route where the two Air France pilots fought, the airline (Air France) offers 6 daily flights from Geneva International Airport (GVA) To Paris’ Charles De Gaulle (CDG) Airport. Air France uses Airbus A318, Airbus A319, Airbus A320 and an Airbus A321 to service this route. But there are two versions of the Airbus A320 serving this route: one with sharklets (winglets) and one without.
The Airbus A318 is configured for 131 seats, the A319 for 142 seats, while the Airbus A321 has 212 seats. For the Airbus A320 with sharklets and without are configure for 174 and 175 seats each respectively.
The flight time between Paris and Geneva one way is approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Air France Pilots Under Scrutiny
Air France pilots have come under scrutiny recently as they have been accused of various safety violations. For example , on December 2020, Air France pilots diverted a flight from Congo Brazzaville heading to Paris when the aircraft developed engine problems. The flight was diverted to Chad and landed safely, although, the pilots were criticized for not cutting power to the leaking engine en-route to Chad.
France’s safety authority, 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.