IndiGo slammed for child boarding incident, show cause notice issued
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a show-cause notice to IndiGo after a probe panel found the airline at fault for not allowing a child with special needs to board a flight from Ranchi on May 7.
“The findings of the committee prima facie indicate inappropriate handling of passengers by the IndiGo staff thereby resulting in certain non-conformances with the applicable regulations,” a statement issued by the DGCA said.
IndiGo has been asked to explain within the next 10 days why “suitable enforcement action should not be taken against them”.
“We have received the communication from DGCA on the matter and will respond in due course,” the airline said.
The airline had on May 9 said the boy was denied boarding as he was “visibly in panic”.
The boy’s parents — who were accompanying him — also decided against boarding the Ranchi-Hyderabad flight.
According to an eyewitness account shared on Twitter, the airline allegedly announced that the child was a flight risk.
The DGCA ordered the probe a day after the eyewitness account of the incident went viral on Twitter and constituted a three-member fact-finding committee.
The regulator said the proceedings of the committee were partly held in the open and partly in-camera as per the request of the affected family.
“To meet the ends of justice, the airline has been provided an opportunity for personal hearing as well as for making written submissions in the next ten days from today i.e. till May 26, 2022. After hearing their submissions, appropriate action as per law would be taken,” the DGCA statement added. IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta had expressed regret over the incident and issued a statement saying “we made the best possible decision in a difficult situation” since the issue concerned flight safety. He offered to buy an electric wheelchair for the child.
IndiGo’s statement did not go down well with the public and the authorities.
Union aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia had tweeted: “There is zero tolerance towards such behaviour. No human being should have to go through this! Investigating the matter by myself, post which appropriate action will be taken.”
There is zero tolerance towards such behaviour. No human being should have to go through this! Investigating the matter by myself, post which appropriate action will be taken. https://t.co/GJkeQcQ9iW— Jyotiraditya M. Scindia (@JM_Scindia) May 9, 2022
According to DGCA regulations issued in 2017, passengers who are likely to be unruly and disruptive must be carefully monitored and if deemed to pose a threat to the safety and security of a flight, fellow passengers or the staff on board the plane, they should be refused embarkation.
“Airlines shall establish a mechanism to detect and report unruly passenger behaviour at check-in, in the lounges and at the boarding gate in order to prevent such passengers from boarding,” the regulations state.