Week in travel: Male pilot slapped female colleague

Women can travel from the UAE to Tunisia again, while Putin allows flights to return to Egypt, and Alaska Air deals with an unexpected passenger

The first week of 2018 was full of uplifting news as well as situations that go beyond common sense.

Trump takes credit for a record year in airline safety

2017 was the safest period for air travel industry ever. And, apparently, we should thank the American president for that. At least he thinks so.

On his infamous twitter account, Donald Trump wrote: “Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation. Good news – it was just reported that there were Zero deaths in 2017, the best and safest year on record!”

While the American president didn’t specify what exact steps he took to improve the safety levels in the airline industry, White House spokesperson Raj Shah aimed to explain the tweet by saying: “President Trump raised the bar for our nation’s aviation safety and security.”

The internet world didn’t have to wait for reactions very long as the social media backlash was almost immediate.

Jet Airways investigating claims male pilot slapped female colleague while leaving the cockpit unattended

Male pilot slapped his female colleague and they both left the controllers unattended for a moment —Shutterstock Trump
A male pilot slapped his female colleague and then both left the controls unattended —Shutterstock

Indian airline Jet Airways is investigating two of its senior commanders over allegations that they had a fight and left the cockpit on a New Year’s Day flight from London to Mumbai.

According to the Times of India, a male pilot supposedly hit his female colleague during an argument while the plane was in the air carrying 324 passengers.

The papers quote unnamed sources that said the midair altercation forced the female pilot to leave the cockpit in tears. Other crew members had to persuade her to go back to the cabin.

The male pilot also left the cockpit at one point, leaving the aircraft controls briefly unattended.

“A misunderstanding occurred between the cockpit crew […] However, the same was quickly resolved amicably and the flight […] continued its journey to Mumbai, landing safely,” Jet Airways said when confirming the altercation.

“The airline has reported the incident to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and the concerned crew have been de-rostered pending an internal investigation that has since been initiated.”

Putin authorises resumption of regular Russian flights to Cairo

Putin allows a restoration of flightsfrom Moscow to Cairo — Marko Rupena / Shutterstock male pilot, trump, slapped
Putin allows a restoration of flights from Moscow to Cairo — Marko Rupena / Shutterstock

The president of the Russian Federation signed an order allowing commercial airlines to restore their routes from Moscow to Cairo.

Civilian air traffic between the two countries was halted in October 2015 after Islamist militants detonated a bomb on a Russian Metrojet flight from the tourist resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 224 people on board.

According to a document published on the Moscow government’s website on Thursday,  the president’s approval could lead to a gradual restoration of the airline’s connection.

Egyptian airport sources said flights would resume first between Cairo and Moscow in February, and negotiations about restoring flights to the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada, popular with Russian tourists, will follow in April, Reuters reported.

“The resumption of flights between Russia and Cairo is a very good sign, giving hope that charter flights to the Red Sea resorts will be possible soon,” Russia’s RIA news agency quoted the head of Russia’s tour operators association, Maya Lomidze.

Ladies welcome back on board! UAE will resume flights to Tunisia after row over ban on female passengers

Women will be allowed to fly from United Arab Emirates to Tunisia again — Shutterstock male pilot, trump, slapped
Women will be allowed to fly from the United Arab Emirates to Tunisia again — Shutterstock

The United Arab Emirates said on Thursday it would resume flights to Tunisia after an exchange of security information, resolving a row over a ban on female Tunisian passengers.

A statement by the foreign ministry on state news agency WAM said the decision was taken in light of extensive cooperation and information received Tunisia that eased the national carriers’ concerns.

Tunisia’s transport ministry said an agreement had been reached after “contacts with the Emirati side at various levels”, Reuters reported.

The UAE angered Tunisia by banning Tunisian women from its passenger flights in December. Tunisian officials later said the UAE was acting on intelligence that female jihadists returning from Iraq or Syria could try to use Tunisian passports to stage attacks.

“In light of preventing dangers and threats that should be avoided to the largest degree, and in light of an extensive security dialogue and information received from the Tunisian side, the concerned authorities in the UAE have decided to return to normal procedures before the extraordinary circumstance,” the statement said.

Rodent on the deck! Alaska Airlines flight cancelled because of rat on board

Alaska Airlines had to deal with an unwelcome passenger on their flight from Oakland to Portland on Tuesday.

During boarding passengers noticed a rat jumping on the plane and the whole flight was subsequently cancelled.

Passengers who had already boarded were asked to exit the aircraft, and most of the 110 travellers were rescheduled to fly on a later trip to Portland.

“The plane is currently out of service. It will be returned to operations once it’s certified rodent-free by a professional exterminator,” Alaska Airlines confirmed via email to KPIX 5. “The aircraft will also be thoroughly inspected to ensure no damage has been done.”

“I asked the captain, ‘If we took a vote and accepted the risk of flying with it could we still go?'” Hintz later told The Mercury News about the rat. “The pilot said he didn’t want it around his feet. Maybe he had a phobia?”

Passengers received a $12 meal voucher and waited for a new flight to Portland.