An Air India pilot has been suspended following claims that he and his co-pilot put more than 160 passengers at risk by leaving two female cabin attendants in charge of their airliner while they slept in business class seats.
They were only forced to return 40 minutes later when the attendants accidentally switched off the plane's auto-pilot switch, according to the claims.
The alleged incident happened at 33,000 feet during an Air India flight from Bangkok to Delhi last month. It follows a series of serious concerns over air safety in India.
Earlier this year an Indian Airlines pilot was discovered to be drunk shortly before he was due to fly a passenger aircraft. In 2010 a number of Indian pilots were found to have fake licenses, while in March this year a UN report said India was among the worst 13 countries on the world for air safety.
According to this latest complaint, the Air India co-pilot had asked one of the attendants to sit in his seat while he went to the bathroom, and shortly after the pilot asked another female attendant to take his seat while he left the cockpit to sleep.
Following the complaints, Air India launched an inquiry into the incident and suspended the pilot.more