An investigation has begun after a US Airways pilot, who is a member of the US programme under which pilots can carry guns in the cockpit, accidentally discharged his firearm during a flight yesterday.

The incident happened on board an Airbus A319-operated US Airways flight 1536 from Denver to Charlotte.

In a statement the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said the flight landed safely in Charlotte and was never in danger.

“TSA and the Federal Air Marshals Service take this matter seriously and an investigation is underway,” the TSA says in a statement.

It stresses the pilot was authorised to be in possession of the weapon and had completed the appropriate training. The pilot last re-qualified in November last year.

Under the Federal Flight Deck Officer programme, authorised US passenger airline crew members have since April 2003 been allowed to carry firearms onboard flights to defend against acts of criminal violence or air piracy attempting to gain control of an aircraft. The legislation was later widened to apply to include cargo airline pilots and certain other crewmembers.

US Airways says it is co-operating with law enforcement authorities who are investigating the incident. The aircraft involved in the event has been removed from service.

Source:'s sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news