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Sex harassment fear: Male pilots avoid calling cabin crew to flight deck putting flyers at risk

New Delhi: The fear of being accused of sexual harassment is driving male pilots to violate a standard operating procedure (SOP), potentially putting lives in peril, according to a report published in a Delhi newspaper.
India TV News Desk January 08, 2014 13:40 IST
India TV News Desk
New Delhi: The fear of being accused of sexual harassment is driving male pilots to violate a standard operating procedure (SOP), potentially putting lives in peril, according to a report published in a Delhi newspaper.

According to the SOP governing flight safety, the pilot or the co-pilot can leave the cockpit only after a member of cabin crew has been called into the flight deck. This is to ensure that if the person flying the plane suddenly falls sick, there is someone to tend to him or her and get the other pilot back urgently.

But, it turns out, many male pilots across domestic airlines have decided to keep air hostesses out of the cockpit, terrified the women will slap charges of groping or other forms of harassment on them.

Confirming the trend a senior pilot said that as a departure from the SOP, most of them in SpiceJet as well as in other domestic carriers have adopted a practice wherein they don't allow the female members of the crew to enter the flight deck.

The only reason being that should one of them turn around tomorrow and level seriously damaging allegations of groping, they will have a lot of answering to do and may even lose their jobs.

Several other pilots said that recent high-profile cases involving a retired judge, Justice AK Ganguly, and journalist Tarun Tejpal, have forced them to look at measures that protect them, even though they come at the cost of flight safety.

Airlines contacted were quick to deny that any such contravention of SOP was occurring.