SpiceJet, an Indian airline, has suspended two of its pilots after it was discovered that they had allegedly consumed coffee and pastries in the cockpit. Had one of the hot drinks spilled, the situation could have been disastrous.
Online outrage was generated by a picture of an exposed cup with the airline’s logo placed perilously close to the cockpit’s control sticks.
The pilots also held gujiyas, a sweet fried pastry typically consumed during the Hindu festival of Holi, which this year fell on March 8. The pilots’ faces were not visible in the photographs.
According to a SpiceJet statement, both pilots have been removed from the roster while an investigation is conducted.
“All flight crew members abide by SpiceJet’s strict policy (regarding) consumption of food in the cockpit. After the investigation is over, the proper disciplinary action will be taken, the spokesperson promised.
The “feel-good social media photo-op” from the pilots, according to retired pilot and former IndiGo operations chief Shakti Lumba, was “immature” and “undesirable,” especially given that they are in charge of ensuring the safety of the aircraft and its occupants.
It was completely illogical behavior. The risks of spilled liquids in the cockpit are known to all pilots, he said, adding that the majority of company policies and aviation regulations forbid putting any food or drink on the central pedestal console.
Spilling piping hot beverages on that console could cause the technical equipment to overheat or cause the system to shut down. Underneath that console is a vast array of electrical wiring that is essential to controlling the plane.