It has been widely reported that the first officer attacked the captain after they had a row about the recording of key data during the flight – although Air India insists the pair only had an argument.

The alarming incident took place on Sunday – less than two weeks after the French Alps disaster in which Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit  before deliberately crashing the aircraft into mountains with the loss of 150 lives. By coincidence, both incidents involved Airbus A320 passenger jets.

The Times of India reports that the first officer on flight AI 611 was irritated by his superior’s request to write down critical flight information such as passenger numbers, take-off weight and fuel uptake.

“The co-pilot took offence at this and reportedly beat up the captain,” said the newspaper. “In the larger interest of the airline, the commander decided to go ahead with the flight and flew to Delhi.”

Air India told the Press Trust of India: “There were only heated exchanges between the commander and co-pilot over some issue. We have already derostered the two pilots pending an inquiry.”