A long-haul flight from New York to Rome caused a stir in Italy and cost the pilot his job. The captain is accused of falling asleep while flying over France in the early morning of 1 May and being unavailable – he denies this, declaring a technical breakdown for his unavailability. Passengers were not at risk, the airline said “clearly and rigorously”.
Flight control in Marseille was no longer able to send the Airbus A330 in the morning. In the worst case scenario, this happens when a plane is hijacked, for example by terrorists. According to the newspaper “La Repubblica”, the French then sent two fighter jets.
Captain declared technical defect
After a few minutes, however, the pilots on board the Ita machine reported themselves and flew on to Rome without any problems. The captain stated that a technical defect was the reason for the interruption of the radio link – but this was disproved by an examination of the machine. Pilots can in principle take a sleep break on long flights – if the copilot is made awake and available.
Pilot has been fired
The airline separated from the pilot because of his behavior on board and because they saw the relationship of trust irreparably damaged. There are no known disciplinary proceedings against the co-pilot, who, according to the report, reported his sleep interruption according to the rules.