French carrier Air France has suspended two pilots after a heated disagreement in which "inappropriate gestures were exchanged" in the cockpit of a Geneva-Paris flight in June, the company has said.

"Following an argument between the two pilots at the controls of an Airbus A320... inappropriate gestures were exchanged," Air France said.

"The pilots involved are currently suspended from flying and awaiting a managerial decision about how to deal with the events," the company added.

Newspaper La Tribune had earlier reported that a physical altercation occurred as the plane was climbing after take-off from Geneva, when the co-pilot refused to follow an order.

The two men grabbed each other by the collar while remaining seated at their posts, La Tribune said.

"The incident was quickly over without affecting either the course or safety of the flight, which continued normally," Air France said.

"Safety of customers and crew members is the airline's top priority," it added.

France's air accident investigation agency recently released a report singling out repeated infractions against safety rules by Air France crews.

The BEA authority urged the carrier to "place respect for procedure back at the heart of the company's safety culture".