Two Air India pilots have been removed from duty after they reportedly got into a fight inside the cockpit of a plane shortly before it was scheduled to take off.

The altercation involving the captain and co-pilot erupted while the plane was being prepared for a 50-minute journey from Delhi to Jaipur last night.

Both pilots have been derostered after the captain of flight AI611 complained that the co-pilot had misbehaved and struck him, the Times of India reported.

An Air India captain claims a co-pilot misbehaved and struck him during an altercation in the cockpit (file)

An Air India spokesman told the newspaper: ‘Both the pilots have been derostered. An inquiry has been ordered into this.’

The airline insists the altercation was limited to a verbal argument, and there was no physical violence.

The Times of India, quoting a source, reported that the captain was assaulted after he asked the co-pilot to record ‘critical take-off figures’ for the flight, including the number of passengers on board, take-off weight and fuel.

Instead of immediately reporting the incident in Delhi, which would have led to the cancellation of the flight, the captain flew the plane to Jaipur and then informed Air India staff.

Reports suggest that the captain was assaulted after asking the co-pilot to record information before take-off

Three years ago he told the captain of a flight to exit the cockpit, ‘remove the stars on his shirt collar’ and fight him, while a complaint filed two years ago from another captain questioned the co-pilot’s mental health and claimed he was ‘rude and unbecoming’.

Last night’s incident comes at a sensitive time for the commercial aviation industry following the tragedy involving Germanwings flight 4U9525.

Investigators believe 27-year-old co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane into the French Alps – killing everyone on board – after locking the captain out of the cockpit on a flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf.

German newspaper Bild reported that Lubitz searched the internet for information on suicide and depression using the name ‘Skydevil’.

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