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Air India likely to take action against more staffers by tomorrow

Air India, which derostered nine employees including two pilots for taking on board three passengers in excess of the aircraft capacity two months ago, is likely to take action against more staffers by Sunday."We will take action against those guilty by tomorrow," an airline official said.The incident occurred on May 5 when its Mumbai-Mangalore flight IC-179 took off with three extra passengers, with one of them seated in the cockpit.With the internal probe by its Executive Director of Western Region in progress, the airline has received some feedback as to who ordered carrying of the three passengers and who were the people involved in issuing of boarding passes manually, airline sources said.There were indications that the three passengers were the wife and two children of one of the pilots who is among the nine employees derostered, they said, adding that some employees were probably "pressurised" to put them on board the packed 172-seater Airbus A-321 aircraft.While one of the three extra passengers was seated inside the cockpit on the 'jump seat' (the third seat besides the two meant for pilot and co-pilot) in complete violation of security guidelines, the other two were accommodated on seats meant for the cabin crew.These additional passengers were issued manual boarding passes as the computerised ones cannot be generated once a flight is completely booked.The incident came to light when Directorate General of Civil Aviation was carrying out a probe into an incident involving the same flight at Mumbai airport in which the aircraft was towed back even before its doors were closed, damaging the aerobridge attached to it and its doors.The commander of the flight, the co-pilot, a ground engineer, a driver of the tow tractor and five commercial staff were derostered immediately after this accident.The DGCA, which submitted its report on the matter on June 26, pointed out that during its investigation it was found that extra passengers were carried by this flight.The regulatory body had also pointed out that some had "deliberately tampered" with the 'load and trim sheet' of the flight. It is a record of a flight detailing the number of passengers and crew members, the weight of cargo and baggage, being carried and technical information like aircraft balance and its centre of gravity.Industry sources said carrying of a passenger inside the cockpit was not only "gross negligence" but a clear violation of security and safety regulations.Prior to the 9/11 attacks in the US, off-duty cabin or cockpit crew were allowed to travel on the 'jump seat', which is the third seat other than the two meant for the pilot and co-pilot. This was, however, done with an authorisation by the Captain of a flight.

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