New Delhi: In a one of its kind event, a Delhi-Kochi Air India was left stranded on the runway for three hours on Wednesday, as the pilot refused to operate the aircraft as one of the emergency oxygen mask in the cockpit was dirty.
AI operations team tried to reason with the pilot that he should not delay the flight for this reason and get the mask cleaned with cologne like cabin crew disinfects masks for making announcements. But the pilot stuck to his ground, insisting that the mask be cleaned and sealed. As a result, the Delhi-Kochi flight, AI 467, with a scheduled departure time of 5.35 am was delayed by almost three hours.
The ‘dirty’ mask in question belonged to the portable oxygen cylinder that is kept in the cockpit. This is to be used by pilots if they have to leave the cockpit in an emergency situation like fire, smoke or de-pressurization in the cabin. Smoke from oven is a common occurrence in aircraft and even for checking them, pilots are supposed to use this portable cylinder.
However, some pilots questioned why it took AI so long to clean the mask. Very often pilots point out that the cockpit is dirty and then the maintenance staff cleans it in minutes.