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An Indian airline has fired two pilots after they fought and briefly left the cockpit unmanned during a New Year's Day flight from London to Mumbai, carrying 324 passengers.

Jet Airways decided to fire the pilots after investigating allegations that a male pilot slapped his female colleague during a heated argument.

According to local media reports, the female pilot left the cockpit in tears and she had to be persuaded to go back in by cabin crew.

At one point the male pilot also left the cockpit, leaving the controls briefly unattended.

Jet said in a statement: "Consequent to the review of the events... Jet Airways has terminated services of both the cockpit crew with immediate effect.”

The two pilots were grounded last week over the incident, which Jet described as a "misunderstanding" that was "quickly resolved amicably".

The flight arrived in Mumbai on schedule.

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