The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India's top regulator for air travel, said on Saturday, May 28, that it has imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on IndiGo airlines for not allowing boarding to a specially-abled child at Ranchi airport on May 7.
In its probe, DGCA had found that the handling of the child by the IndiGo ground staff was deficient and exacerbated the situation. They noted that more compassionate handling would have smoothened the nerves, calmed the child, and prevented the need for the extreme step, resulting in denied boarding to the passengers.
Penalty & Revised Regulations
In its official statement, DGCA emphasised that special circumstances deserve extraordinary responses. Still, the airline's staff failed to rise to the occasion and, in the procedure, committed lapses in adhering to the letter and spirit of the Civil Aviation Requirements (Regulations).
Therefore the competent authority has decided to impose a penalty of Rs 5 lakh on the IndiGo airline, reported The Indian Express.
The regulator further added that to prevent such situations in the future, it would revisit its regulations and make it mandatory for airlines to take the airport doctor's written opinion on a passenger's health before deciding to deny boarding. The new rules would also mandate written consultations with the aircraft captain for their opinion on allowing such a passenger on board.
Denied Boarding To Child Drew Criticism
The ground staff's refusal for the child to board the aeroplane on May 7 had drawn widespread criticism, prompting the aviation regulator to launch a probe. The DGCA had formed a three-member team to probe the matter on May 9, reported NDTV.
The incident came to light after Manisha Gupta, a fellow passenger on the Ranchi-Hyderabad flight, narrated it in a social media post. After the child was not allowed to board the plane, his parents too decided not to take the flight. The airlines said the boy was denied permission to board the flight as he was visibly in panic.
After the outrage, Ronojoy Dutta, IndiGo CEO, expressed regret over the incident and stated that the airline staff took the best possible decision under challenging circumstances.
He said, "While providing courteous and compassionate service to our customers is of paramount importance to us, the airport staff, in line with the safety guidelines, were forced to make a difficult decision as to whether this commotion would carry forward aboard the aircraft."
Jyotiraditya Scindia, Minister of Civil Aviation head earlier said that there is "zero tolerance for such behaviour" and that "no human being should have to go through this".
Also Read: IndiGo Staff Mistreating Specially-Abled Kid Triggers Backlash; Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia Assures 'Appropriate Action