Argentina's flag carrier sacked two pilots and banned a glamorous star and part time stripper from flying in the airline following the release of a video where she is seen in the cabin manipulating some of the instruments when taking off and landing. Victoria Xipolitakis personally offered the recording in her cellular to a local television channel triggering immediate reaction from Aerolineas Argentinas, air security authorities and even passengers.
During the flight between Buenos Aires and Rosario, in the video Xipolitakis can be seen as she pulls the throttle accelerating the aircraft when taking off and the ongoing dialogue.
When I tell you, you push a little forward the throttle, said the pilot.
I'm accelerating the aircraft, and its beginning to move and it's running can be heard from the excited stripper. However she's also cautious; Are you sure boys what we are doing, I'm really scared.
I've taking off the plane, she screams. Yes sure you did, says one of the pilots who later asks Victoria do you have a marriage ring? and he adds, when I see you my legs begin to shake.
Yes I was the pilot, I commanded the aircraft, yells Victoria, in the sound video which she later delivered to one of the local television channels.
When it was aired hell broke loose. The two pilots were fired, the stripper was banned from flying in Aerolineas Argentinas for five years, and any other staff who was aware of what was going on and did not report it, will also be fired, said the airlines' CEO Mariano Recalde, who also happens to be running for Buenos Aires City mayor sponsored by Cristina Fernandez.
This conduct is repudiated by the professional pilots association and is totally contrary to the operational security of Austral and Aerolineas Argentinas said the company in a brief release.
Following the company's report against the pilots and the stripper, a prosecutor took the case as a crime against the security of any sea or air craft, with a potential sentence of two to eight years in jail.
Passengers have also anticipated that they will be demanding compensation from Aerolineas Argentinas for not complying with air security rules and putting their lives at risk.
The controversy has also surfaced other videos and pictures of rich and famous Argentines in the cabins of Aerolineas planes, although none of them helping to pilot or pushing the throttle.
The incident has also torpedoed Recalde's hopes to become mayor of the city of Buenos Aires. He already was in trouble because Aerolineas has been repeatedly questioned for the subsidies it gobbles despite new aircrafts and a clean take off after nationalization of the flag carrier.
We're not discarding any hypothesis, it's really amazing what happened, said Recalde in reference to possible political motivations for the incident. Buenos Aires City mayor ballot is next Sunday, 5 July.
We know this lady has tried on other occasions to have access to the pilots' cabin but was refused. We want to believe it is irresponsibility from the pilots that extreme security measures were ignored or trespassed, underlined Recalde.
Argentina's cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez condemned the incident: these things should not happen. The pilots have lost their jobs. We are waiting to see what magistrates decide since the Argentine criminal code is very clear, two to eight years in jail for endangering security in a flight.