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Jet Airways ‘de-rosters’ expat pilot over racial abuse allegations made by Harbhajan Singh

Source: | Saturday, April 29, 2017

The cricketer claimed that the airline’s staffer had referred to a flyer as a ‘bloody Indian’ and assaulted a woman and a disabled man on board the flight.

Jet Airways on Wednesday said it had “de-rostered” an expatriate staff pilot accused of making racist remarks and physically assaulting passengers on a Chandigarh-Mumbai flight on April 3. On Twitter, the airliner said it had de-rostered the employee concerned since the day of the event.

Earlier in the day, cricketer Harbhajan Singh took to Twitter to demand strict action against the pilot, whom he named as Bernd Hoesslin. Using the hashtag “Proud to be India”, Singh said the pilot was abusive despite “earning here [India]”.

Jet Airways expressed regret over the incident and said they have launched a “full-fledged internal investigation” into the allegations. The airliner said it had issued an apology to the flyers and will take corrective action “as per company policy” as well as update the passengers concerned about the investigation. “The pilot must be sacked, and sent back to his country”, NDTV quoted Singh as saying.

The cricketer claimed the pilot referred to a flyer as a “bloody Indian” and assaulted a woman and a disabled man on board the flight. His comments are an apparent reference to passenger Pooja Gujaral’s Facebook account post, where she accused the pilot of yelling at her disabled friend for delaying the flight by “checking-in” his wheelchair, NDTV reported.

She said the airline had a provision to check-in the wheelchair. “He [the pilot] got really mad at me and started screaming and pushed my hand saying ‘Get out’! I moved him aside and warned him against touching me! He said ‘You bloody Indian’ and that is when I gave him hell.”

Gujaral said that while other crew members apologised, the pilot continued with his aggressive behaviour. On Facebook, Gujaral had said she had filed a non-cognisable complaint as police had refused to file an FIR.

The airline’s union had raised their concerns about the “racist approach” by expat pilots working with Jet Airways and demanded that they be barred, NDTV reported. The airliner has around almost 60 pilots who fall under the expatriate category.


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