Does SpiceJet always have off-duty pilots sitting on their planes for a quick snack time? Claiming that the pilot was off duty is neither believable nor relevant in this case.
The core issue is that the beverage was placed in the position shown in the image, exposed to the entire center console, and would that had spilled over the controls, then who knows what could have happened.
Undoubtedly SpiceJet can’t be happy about this, no matter what the outcome is. The carrier has now been making the news for crews being sloppy and compromising safety.
There was likely no ill intent on the part of the pilots, just plain stupidity. They just liked to take a picture of their Holi celebrations, but maybe that would have gone better had the beverage been placed in a less compromising position. Whoever thought that this was a good idea should really not be flying an aircraft.
India’s SpiceJet has suspended two pilots over an incident of allegedly compromising the safety of the aircraft by placing beverages on top of sensitive areas in the cockpit while in flight.
The suspension was demanded by Indias Aviation Regulator, but of course, who knows what will happen to the two crew members. All hysteria aside in this case, a serious reprimand of the crew and detailed retraining would probably be enough, providing their record is clean otherwise.
Some years ago, the regulator also found out that 14 pilots in India operated on fake training records, and the licenses of these 14 pilots were summarily revoked.