Fake pilot gets into cockpit of Qantas flight

Ceri Roberts
Quantas puts woman dressed as pilot in cockpit of Dubai to Sydney fligh
Quantas puts woman dressed as pilot in cockpit of Dubai to Sydney fligh

A woman dressed as a pilot was allowed into the cockpit of a Qantas flight from Dubai to Sydney - and again on the return flight.

The Australian reports that the woman, who is a navigations worker, was booked on the flight but was not allocated a seat. Although she was expected to sit in a crew seat, she was given a high-level access card, which meant she could enter the cockpit.

Richard Woodward, vice president of the Australian and International Pilots Association, told The Australian: "She was sitting in the cockpit for a large percentage of the flight. I think it was naive and silly."

He said that pilots were angry about the incident and added: "It takes a lot of work to become a professional pilot. She came on dressed as a pilot."

He explained that the chief concern was that, in the event of an emergency, the woman many have been called upon to help with the flight - and said that lawyers were in the process of sending a letter of complaint to Qantas.

The Age reports that the plane's captain was put in a difficult position because he had to decide whether to leave the woman behind or allow her on board. He has since raised his concerns in a report to Qantas operations.

Mr Woodward told The Age that the woman was likely to have been arrested if she had continued on to London from Dubai, as the UK has tight restrictions on access to the cockpit by anyone but on-duty pilots and flight attendants.

Qantas spokesman Andrew McGinnes confirmed that the woman was wearing "parts" of a pilots uniform, but could not explain why.

He said: "We're examining precisely why this happened, however it's clear that the staff member was on the flight deck for operational reasons and was not in any way trying to deceive the flight crew, who knew the staff member wasn't a pilot.

"The staff member had the proper security clearance and appropriate documentation to be on the flight deck and there is no suggestion of improper behaviour on the aircraft."


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