An easyJet pilot has been grounded after he told friends he is "suicidal" and "probably going to kill" himself, the Daily Star reported.
In a series of WhatsApp messages, the pilot wrote: "I thought I would meet people, make friends with colleagues . . . my life is s**t since I was born." His friends passed the messages to his bosses, who had him grounded.
The pilot later tried to tell easyJet that he is not truly suicidal, The Sun reported, but a source quoted easyJet as saying: "We take zero chances with our pilots. Anyone sharing suicidal thoughts in private deserves help and assessment. Taking their word for it that they're fine isn’t enough. There's too much at stake. The memory of the Germanwings tragedy remains in sharp focus."
An easyJet spokesman told The Sun: "We can confirm that the pilot was stood down from flying a number of days ago, in line with our procedures, while we investigate. We have offered support in the meantime."
"The safety and wellbeing of our passengers and crew is the airline's highest priority. We offer support through an employee assistance program (EAP), Pilot Peer Support Program and we have a full Occupational Health provision across our UK & European network. We always take steps to ensure that easyJet’s pilots fully fit to operate.
"All pilots are licensed under aviation regulators and as part of this are subject to extensive regular medical assessments which include mental health assessments."
The pilot will be required to undergo "many weeks" of mental health tests before being considered safe to fly again.
In 2015, Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed an Airbus into the French Alps after locking the plane's pilot out of the cockpit. All 150 people on board were killed. An investigation into the crash found that Lubitz had received treatment for suicidal tendencies before getting his license