An Air India flight to Bangalore was diverted to another city after the pilot returned from a toilet break and found the door to the cockpit jammed shut, the state-run carrier said Tuesday.
The flight left Delhi for Bangalore on Monday but the plane had to be diverted to Bhopal in central India when the pilot realised he could not get back to the controls.
"The commander of the flight had left the cockpit for a short while to visit the toilet and on returning to the cockpit found the door locked," Air India said in a news release.
The statement said that "all efforts to open the door, even from inside by the co-pilot, failed".
The co-pilot was forced to diverted the flight to Bhopal where the door was repaired by ground maintenance engineers.
The airline said that during the time the door was locked, the cockpit was manned by the co-pilot and trainee pilot.
"All precautions and procedures regarding safety were observed during the entire process. The incident posed no danger to the aircraft passengers and the crew," it said.
The incident is the latest in a series of safety-related issues involving the airline.
Early this month, the airline said it had suspended a pilot and two female flight attendants after a passenger jet's autopilot system was accidentally switched off "due to (a) distraction".
Indian media reports at the time alleged the pilots were giving the flight attendants flying lessons.
The airline has in the past also suspended a senior pilot who was found to be drunk just as he was about to fly a passenger aircraft.
Air India is the country's fourth-largest airline by market share and has been hit hard by rising fuel prices and fierce competition from private carriers that have added to a legacy of labour problems and crushing debts.
by Omar HASSAN ABDULLA Â© 2013 AFP
Date: May 14, 2013