Two pilots of a private Indian airline have been suspended for reportedly consuming coffee and sweets in the cockpit during a flight.
The incident was brought to public attention after an image of an open cup on the control panel of a SpiceJet aircraft circulated on social media.
The episode allegedly took place while the plane was flying at an altitude of 37,000ft. The photo caused an uproar, resulting in the country’s aviation regulator issuing a warning to the airline.
According to reports, the recent occurrence transpired on a flight heading from Delhi to the northeastern city of Guwahati on March (08), the day of the festival of Holi.
The picture revealed an open coffee cup, featuring the airline’s logo, perilously located on an aircraft’s start lever, while gujiyas – a sweet fried pastry commonly consumed during Holi were present.
However, the pilots were not visible in the image.
The post quickly went viral, inciting outrage on social media platforms, with many individuals condemning the pilots for their irresponsible conduct.
Mohan Ranganathan, who reportedly first shared the picture on Twitter said, “Even the slightest turbulence and coffee spills on to the electronics, it will foul the systems. This is a criminal act.”
India’s aviation regulatory body, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, took cognisance of the image on Tuesday (14) and directed SpiceJet to promptly identify the crew members involved.
Although two pilots have been suspended since the incident, a spokesperson for SpiceJet has stated that they are still attempting to determine the precise timeline of events.
“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 airline said.