DGCA cracks whip on IndiGo for ‘uncompassionate’ behaviour

NewsDGCA cracks whip on IndiGo for ‘uncompassionate’ behaviour

New Delhi: Two days after the deadline given to IndiGo by India’s aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to submit its reply on the ill-treatment meted out to a special needs child at the Ranchi airport, the DGCA on Saturday afternoon slapped a fine of Rs five lakh on the low-cost carrier for being “uncompassionate” in handling the child and lapse of duty.
“The Competent Authority in DGCA has decided to impose a penalty of Rs five lakh on the airline under the provisions of the relevant Aircraft Rules,” a DGCA statement released on Saturday afternoon said. The statement further said that the probe committee constituted by it found that “the handling of the special child by the Indigo ground staff was deficient and ended up exacerbating the situation”.
“A more compassionate handling would have smoothened the nerves, calmed the child and would have obviated the need for the extreme step resulting in denied boarding to the passengers. Special situations deserve extraordinary responses, but the Airline staff failed to rise up to the occasion and in the process committed lapses in adherence to the letter and spirit of the Civil Aviation Requirements (Regulations),” the DGCA said.
The Sunday Guardian had reached out to the DGCA and the Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation on Friday morning, after the 10-day deadline given to IndiGo ended, seeking to know whether any action was going to be initiated against IndiGo. The father of the 12-year-old special needs, while speaking to The Sunday Guardian on Saturday evening, said that they just wanted a formal apology from IndiGo. “We simply wanted an apology from the airline for the harassment, trauma and the humiliation that my 12-year-old specially-abled child faced, his mother and I faced at the airport in the hands of the IndiGo staff in Ranchi.” The Sunday Guardian also reached out to IndiGo for a comment on this, but none was shared till the time of going to the press. The DGCA had constituted a three-member team on 10 May to investigate the matter and the team had visited both Ranchi and Hyderabad to ascertain facts of the matter. The team had also met the parents of the child on 12 May and had taken statements from them.
On 16 May, the DGCA in a press statement had said that “prima facie”, they have found IndiGo and its staff of inappropriate handling of passengers resulting in certain non-conformances with the applicable regulation, after which the DGCA issued a “show cause” notice to IndiGo to explain why “suitable enforcement action” should not be taken against them and had given 10 days’ time to the airlines to respond which ended on Thursday. The said incident had taken place on 7 May at Ranchi Airport. Indigo has come under severe criticism for denying boarding to the specially-abled child and his parents, who were supposed to fly from Ranchi to Hyderabad, citing “safety of passengers”. The three passengers were told by the IndiGo staff present at the airport on the evening of 7 May that the child would have to become “normal” before he could be allowed to take the flight.

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