Two Austral Lineas pilots have been fired by an Argentinian airlline for taking selfies with Playboy model Viky Xipolitakis, ABC News reported Tuesday in the video posted above. The photos shown in the ABC report were taken mid-flight, the airline said.
The incident was revealed by the Argentinian TV show called Telenoche and shared with ABC News. It shows one of the pilots explaining how the controls on the plane work. The model has apologized via social media but that didn’t change the airlines’ mind about the firings.
Mashable reported Tuesday that Xipolitakis spent most of the flight from Buenos Aires to Rosario, Argentina, in the pilot and copilot. She took six videos during the flight. There were 36 people aboard the jet.
The airline, Aerolineas Argentinas , fired Patricio Zocchi Molina and Federico Matias Soaje on June 25. That was three days after the video was taken. The pilots could also face more repercussions.
“Also criminal proceedings against the above-named and against the passenger involved will be initiated under Article 190 of the penal code for putting the flight’s safety at risk,” Aerolineas Argentinas said in a statement.
Model Xipolitakis has not taken down the pictures from her Twitter post on the evening of June 24, but instead is attempting to explain more about the incident.
“I sincerely and wholeheartedly did not imagine I could cause this much damage,” she wrote in one of her Tweets..
“With respect to the extraordinary flight, being there was an unforgettable and beautiful experience, I never thought there would be this much fuss,” she added.
Aerolineas Argentinas is banning the model from their flights for five years but the airline doesn’t say why she is culpable since the pilots clearly gave her permission to be there. Ecanadanow reports that some of the passengers on the jet may bring legal action.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has no jurisdiction in this incident because the Argentine airline has only domestic flights. But the FAA does have specific rules when it comes to pilots using smart phones and other handheld devices.
The FAA says commercial pilots are not allowed to use personal wireless devices “while at their duty station.” The FAA says those devices are only allowed if “directly related to operation of the aircraft, or for emergency, safety-related, or employment-related communications.” But those rules to not apply to visitors in the cockpit or anyone occupying the jumpseat.
The Daily Caller reports that the firings may not be permanent but will last at least five years.
“The FAA is unaware of incidents of pilots violating the regulation,” a FAA spokesman said in a statement to ABC News, referring to carriers over which the agency has jurisdiction.
On its Web site, Austral Lineas addressed its firing of the pilots: “The company confirms its continuing commitment to safety and the respect for political and safety protocols. In pursuit of this it is that not only tolerates no deviation internal policies but all legal actions to sanction this serious episode was also initiated. The behavior of the pilots, also rejected by the professional association that represents it, is totally contrary to the safety culture of Austral Lineas.”.