New Delhi, April 24: The national carrier Air India on Thursday, April 23, grounded a pilot and as he delayed Delhi to Kochi flight over "dirty mask" and and insisted for a "fresh" one before flying the plane.
The flight got delayed by 3.5 hours. The flight engineer was also grounded as he took a long time in replacing the mask. [Air India pilots fought as Captain addressed co-pilot as 'uncle']
On Wednesday, April 22, the commander of the Air India flight AI 467 refused to fly as the emergency oxygen masks in the cockpit was 'dirty'. [320 pilots flew planes without proficiency check in 2014: Civil Aviation Minister]
"The same aircraft was to fly on two other routes where too services got delayed because of the pilot's refusal to operate the flight due to "unhygienic" mask in the cockpit", an Air India official said.
"The pilot refused to accept the dirty emergency oxygen mask in the cockpit and delayed the flight by three hours. Due to this two other flights were also delayed," the official said.
"Air India has set up an enquiry into the circumstances, which led to the pilot rejecting the mask. The probe will look into the genuineness of the pilot's claim," the official said.
Cockpit masks are used by pilots when they have to leave the cockpit during emergency situation like fire, smoke or de-pressurization in the cabin.
They have oxygen suplly for longer period as compared to overhead masks in passengers' cabin, that provide oxygen for 15 minutes.
Air India's on-time performance has in the past come into question from different quarters, forcing the government to monitor the flight operation schedule on a daily basis.
The national carrier had, however, improved its on-time performance with 70 per cent of its flights departing and arriving on time from four major metropolitan cities during February as against a poor 52.1 per cent a month ago.
(With agency inputs)