A pilot in China has been banned from flying after images of an unauthorized guest in the cockpit area circulated over the internet.
According to The Star, an English-language newspaper in Malaysia, while the pilot has now been banned, it seems that the incident took place months ago in January, on Air Guilin. At first glance, the setup might have been difficult to parse out for its authenticity, but the fact that the image went viral helped members of the aviation industry identify the airline that did the violation.
The image circulated in Weibo where professionals from the aviation industry found it, called it out, and successfully managed to tell which airline it was.
The young woman, who was the infamous guest in the cockpit, was later revealed to be third-year student Chen, at the Guilin Tourism University itself. The story behind her sitting in the cockpit (and with a tea set, no less!) was that she was already on her way to graduation and presumably wanted to see what the plane had to offer.
|Photo Credit via The Star|
Unfortunately, her picture also showed enough information for people to deduce that this stunt had apparently been done while the plane was in mid-flight, which was all the fuel needed by Air Guilin to issue the appropriate sanctions.
In a statement they released on Monday, a day after the photo went viral, they said:
“Air Guilin has decided to ban the pilot from flying for life. The other crew members have been suspended from flying indefinitely pending further investigations,” the statement said. "Air Guilin always attaches great importance to passengers’ safety, and we have ‘zero tolerance’ for any improper and unprofessional conduct that may jeopardise aviation safety.”
|Photo Credit via Airlines Inform|
It is unclear whether the pilot will still be able to work outside Air Guilin and in any other airline company as a pilot. If they extend that courtesy, hopefully, the pilot decides against doing this again.