Air India backs pilot on urination incident
Air India on Tuesday said the suspension of the pilot-in-command’s licence for three months by the DGCA after the urination incident on its New York-New Delhi flight was “excessive” and the airline would help the pilot appeal against the order.
“In light of the mitigating circumstances and the financial detriment already incurred by the crew during their period of de-rostering, Air India deems the licence suspension of the commander excessive and will be assisting him with an appeal,” the Tata group-owned airline said in a statement.
The DGCA has fined Air India Rs 30 lakh for failing to follow regulations in handling the incident that happened on the New York-New Delhi flight on November 26, 2022. It has suspended the pilot-in-command for three months and fined the airline’s director-in-flight services Rs 3 lakh.
Air India said it had closed its internal investigation into the actions of its crew who were approached by the complainant after a passenger allegedly urinated on her.
“In the absence of any witnesses, the crew took the complainant’s allegation at face value and assisted her by providing fresh clothes, helping clean her belongings and relocating her to another business class seat of the same type as her original one,” it said.
“When awoken and confronted with the allegation, the alleged perpetrator was calm, cooperative and professed ignorance of the allegation. He had not been served excessive alcohol by the crew and did not appear intoxicated to the crew,” the airline added.
It said that “he was co-operative & claiming ignorance of the event, there was no risk to flight safety and that a resolution had been witnessed between the parties, the crew made a judgement call to record it as (non-reportable) incident”.
Ground staff did not challenge the crew’s assessment and, therefore, did not report the matter as an unruly incident.
Air India said it accepted it did not correctly classify the incident and therefore did not report it as required.
The crew and ground staff have been warned and counselled, it said.
Air India fined again
DGCA on Tuesday fined Air India Rs 10 lakh for not reporting two incidents of unruly passenger behaviour on a Paris-New Delhi flight last December.
It said a passenger was caught smoking in the lavatory and not adhering to crew instructions, and another passenger allegedly relieved himself on a vacant seat and blanket of a fellow female passenger when she went to the lavatory.
“A financial penalty of Rs 10,00,000 has been imposed on Air India for not reporting the incident to DGCA and delaying in referring the matter to its internal committee,” it said.