A flight of India's Jet Airways from Mumbai to Brussels with around 280 passengers on board descended 5,000 feet while overflying Turkey last week with the pilot asleep and the co-pilot busy on an iPad.
Both pilots of the country's largest private carrier have been suspended by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of India which is investigating the incident.
The flight from Mumbai to Newark via Brussels descended from 34,000 feet to 29,000 feet when the plane was over the Turkish airspace. Air traffic controllers noted the descent and sent an emergency message to the aircraft, ordering it to climb back. The co-pilot then woke up the captain.
Both the pilots were summoned by the DGCA yesterday for questioning. While the commander said he was on "controlled rest", a short nap inside the cockpit which is allowed by flight operation procedures, the co-pilot testified that she was working on her iPad which had aircraft documents loaded on to it, Press Trust of India quoted unidentified sources as saying.
A spokesperson of Jet Airways said the airline has initiated an internal inquiry into the matter.
"The airline is also providing necessary assistance to the DGCA for the inquiry," the spokesperson said.