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Pilot locked out of cockpit while co-pilot slept

A Transavia Boeing 737
A Transavia Boeing 737

Low-cost Dutch airline Transavia has opened an investigation after one of its pilots was locked out of the cockpit mid-flight after his co-pilot fell asleep.

A report on the incident, which occurred on a Boeing 737 flight to Crete in September, has been released by the Dutch aviation safety board (OVV) as part of its quarterly report.

“After two and a half hours in the air the captain of the Dutch-registered plane left the cockpit to go to the toilet,” the OVV said.

“A little later he wanted to return to the cockpit. When he used the intercom to call the first officer to open the door he got no reaction.

“When he managed to get into the cockpit, he found the first officer asleep.” The OVV added that Transavia was investigating the incident.

The incident comes ahead of controversial new EU legislations that could see pilots forced to work longer shifts. On 22 January, European pilot groups staged demonstrations calling for better protection against in-flight fatigue.

In a 2012 survey for the European Cockpit Association (ECA), more than half of around 6,000 pilots from all over Europe said tiredness had hampered their ability to fly.