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Transavia Airlines Copilot Locks Out Captain After Stepping Out To Use The Restroom
By Daniel Baxter

January 31, 2013 - The Dutch low cost airline, Transavia reported it has begun an investigation after one of its first officers onboard a Boeing 737 locked out the captain after he step out to use the restroom. 

Back in September the Boeing 737 was en route from Greece to the Netherlands. Two and half hours into the flight, the captain stepped out of the cockpit to take a restroom break.

When the captain returned a short time later, the pilot attempted to use the intercom to contact the copilot to regain access to the flight deck. The copilot did not respond. Several attempts were made. 


The captain eventually alerted the crew and was able to open the cockpit door, that's when the captain found the copilot asleep. The captain was able to land the Boeing 737 without further incident. Although in the incident happened in September, the Dutch safety board (OVV) released a report published on its website.

Dutch Safety Board spokesperson, Wim van der Weegen said "It's a serious incident. What makes it serious is the combination of the pilot being unable to access the cockpit and the first officer being asleep. By 'serious incident, I mean the flight was in danger.”  

The Dutch Safety Board reported it will respond appropriately to this incident upon completion Transavia Airline completes its investigation. The purpose of the Dutch Safety Board’s work is to ‘prevent incidents or to limit their after-effects’. Accordingly, the Board’s investigation aims not only to uncover the actual causes of incidents but also and in particular to bring to light the underlying causes of the incident, so that any shortcomings in the applied system can be revealed.



During the time of this incident a number of European pilot groups raised concerns that new flying hours imposed by the EU could lead to precisely this problem. Under the new EU rules, pilots could be in the cockpit for more than 22 hours. FAA regulations require flights longer than eight hours to have a relief pilot on board to take over when pilots sleep and it is a violation for a pilot to sleep at the controls. In addition FAA regulations require a flight attendant to be in the cockpit when the pilot or first officer is in need to take a bathroom break. This is a precaution should the person flying the aircraft becomes incapacitated. 

Transavia Airlines is a Dutch based low-cost airline operating as an independent part of the Air France-KLM group. Its main base is at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM) and Eindhoven Airport (EIN) are its secondary hubs. In France, Paris-Orly Airport is the main base of its French affiliate. Transavia chiefly operates scheduled and charter services to leisure destinations.

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