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10th Dec 2003, 05:29
From the Sunday Times web site:

Air passengers attack pilots

TWO passengers entered the cockpit of an Avianca airliner after it landed and beat up the pilot and co-pilot, aviation authorities said today.

The passengers, identified as Colombian business executives, were temporarily detained and face criminal charges stemming from the Sunday night incident.

The plane had landed at Bogota's airport on a flight from Medellin, Colombia's second-largest city. The two passengers, angered that they were not immediately let off the flight, entered the cockpit and allegedly punched and kicked the pilot and co-pilot, who were treated at a hospital.

"If this had happened in the United States or Europe, these gentlemen would rot in jail, because this is terrorism," said Arturo Salazar, head of the Colombian Association of Civil Aviators, in a radio interview.

There was no immediate explanation why the incident was not reported earlier.

Pilots for Avianca, Colombia's largest carrier, recently launched a work slowdown to protest against planned layoffs among flight crews, but the labour action had ended hours before the incident at Bogota's El Dorado Airport.