Air India generic
Air India jets at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. (File Photo) Image Credit: AP

An Air India senior pilot has alleged that she was sexually harassed by one of the airline’s commander on May 5 in the Indian city of Hyderabad.

The woman pilot has accused him of sexually harassing her, asking her inappropriate and personal questions, and threatening to come to her hotel room if she did not respond to him. With hashtag #MeToo, people took to Twitter to share news reports.

According to Indian media reports, the woman pilot was being trained by the accused commander in Hyderabad. He suggested that they have dinner at a restaurant to which she agreed.

An article on Indian newspaper The Times of India’s website states that the woman, in her complaint, said that she agreed to accompany him for dinner as she "had done a few flights with him and he seemed decent. We went to a restaurant at around 8pm and this is where my ordeal started".

The commander allegedly started telling the woman that he was depressed and unhappy with his marriage and asked her how she was dealing with her husband being away from her. She added in her complaint: “He also asked me how I coped with my husband living away”, and said that he made obscene queries about her sexual life.

The woman pilot added that she told the commander later that she did not want to “speak about all this”, and called herself a taxi. However, as she waited for half an hour for the cab to arrive, the commander’s behaviour became more threatening. She added: “I was left shocked at his behaviour and felt extremely uncomfortable, scared and humiliated.”

Even after she reached her hotel room, the commander’s advances allegedly did not stop. He messaged her incessantly, however, she did not respond. He then allegedly threatened to come to her hotel room. She replied to him then, saying that she was feeling disturbed with how he was conducting himself. The senior then tried to normalise his behaviour saying that he was just “providing options” and that other people just force themselves on women.

According to Indian news website, The News Minute, Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar said: “As soon as the matter came to our notice, immediately a high level inquiry was set up.”

The accused commander has been de-rostered for now and is not on active duty at the airline, the report added.