Air India fined Rs 30 lakh by DGCA
Air India has been fined Rs 30 lakh by the civil aviation regulator DGCA for failing to follow regulations in handling the incident of an allegedly drunken flier urinating on a fellow passenger on a New York-Delhi flight.
In addition, the pilot-in-command has been suspended for three months and a fine of Rs 3 lakh slapped on the airline’s director, in-flight services, the regulator said.
This is the first time that the DGCA has penalised an airline for unruly passenger behaviour onboard a flight.
The incident occurred on November 26, but the airline had failed to report it to the regulator. Air India on Friday said it was studying the regulator’s order, but acknowledged that there were “gaps” in the airline’s internal reporting and said “relevant steps” were being taken to address them.
“We are also strengthening our crews’ awareness of and compliance with policies on the handling of incidents involving unruly passengers,” the spokesperson said.
Air India had on Thursday said it had imposed a four month flying ban on offender Shankar Mishra, who is in jail now following his arrest on an FIR filed by the victim, a woman in her seventies. The case is before a Delhi court.
Earlier, the airline had barred him from flying for 30 days. Mishra is banned from all the airlines under the Air India group — Air India, Air India Express, AIX Connect as well as Vistara.
According to norms, Mishra can appeal against the ban to an appellate committee constituted by the ministry of civil aviation. The decision of the committee shall be final in so far as the government is concerned. Any further appeal shall lie in a high court.
The DGCA, which took note of the incident on January 4 after media reports appeared, had earlier issued showcause notices to Air India’s accountable manager, director of in-flight services, and all the pilots and cabin crew members on that flight asking why action should not be taken against them for dereliction of their regulatory obligations.
The DGCA examined the written replies of Air India and the personnel involved and decided on the action.
A “financial penalty of Rs 30,00,000 has been imposed on Air India for violation of applicable DGCA Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR),” the regulator said.
The CAR, related to the handling of unruly passengers, was issued by the DGCA in September 2017.
The watchdog said the licence of the pilot-in-command had been suspended for three months for failing to discharge his duties according to Rule 141 of the Aircraft Rules, 1937, and the DGCA CAR.
A financial penalty of Rs 3 lakh has been imposed on the director, in-flight services, for failing to discharge her duties according to the DGCA CAR, it added.