On April 30, an ITA Airways (formerly Alitalia) Airbus A330 flies from New York JFK to Rome Fiumicino. An ordinary flight until shortly before the destination. But when the machine entered French airspace, air traffic control in Marseille sounded the alarm.
The reason: the plane can no longer be reached. The worst is assumed. Is flight AZ609 in the hands of terrorists? Two French army fighter jets take off immediately to accompany and possibly attack the machine.
But after about ten minutes the all-clear is given – the pilots respond and reach Rome without further incident. As the news portal “Aerotelegraph” reports, ITA Airways has now investigated the incident. The captain was fired. Because the airline believes that he and his co-pilot fell asleep during the flight. A nap in the cockpit!
Captain denies incident
While the co-pilot was taking a nap, which is actually allowed, the captain is said to have dozed off as well. And that is exactly what must not happen. The machine flew on autopilot without supervision. Neither of the two men in the cockpit could have intervened in an emergency.
The captain denies the nap allegation. He claims not to have slept. According to him, there was a technical problem with the radio system during the flight. That is why the two pilots could not be reached for ten minutes. However, the internal investigation did not find any evidence of this. The facility was intact.
Not enough staff
The pilot’s dismissal is currently being criticized by the Nav Aid Pilotiaz union. According to the union, it has not yet been proven that the pilot really fell asleep.
And: The clarification of a security-relevant incident must primarily have the goal that something like this can not happen in the future without someone being punished for it.
The union also criticizes that the airline has not hired enough cockpit staff. This leads to “suffocating” layers, which in turn lead to problems with fatigue. (bra)