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Air New Zealand pilots stood down after mid-air drama

Published on Jul 6, 2014 11:18 AM

WELLINGTON (AFP) - Air New Zealand has stood down two pilots after a mid-air drama in which the airline said the first officer was locked out of the cockpit during a trans-Tasman flight.

The incident on a Perth-Auckland flight on May 21 followed "some tension" between the pair, after the flight's departure was delayed when the first officer was required to undertake a random drug and alcohol test, the airline said.

"This departure delay frustrated the captain who prides himself on operational efficiency," Air New Zealand's manager of operational integrity and safety, Errol Burtenshaw, told AFP in a statement on Sunday.

During the overnight flight, the first officer left the flight deck for a comfort break and then had coffee with a cabin crew member in the galley area.

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