The DGCA’s rules require an airline to constitute an internal committee comprising a retired District and Sessions Judge as Chairperson, a representative from a different airline, and either a representative from a passenger’s association or a retired officer of a Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum.
Airlines in India should have the power to ban an unruly passenger unilaterally like in other countries instead of following a complicated process, Air India CEO Campbell Wilson said. He also asked why the police had not yet taken action in last week’s incident, when a male passenger brutally punched a member of the cabin crew and grabbed another by her hair onboard the airline’s Delhi-London flight.
“At the moment there’s a very convoluted process to make a determination on whether an airline should accept someone who has misbehaved for travel. In most other jurisdictions, that is left at the airline’s discretion,” Mr. Wilson said in an exclusive interview to The Hindu. He called the process defined by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) an “onerous” one.
“It’s not conducive to sending the message that there is an expected level of behavior and decorum onboard an aircraft,” Mr. Wilson said.
He expressed his “shock” that there was “too frequently an incident” where passengers not just turned up drunk, but “brought their own alcohol and drank it secretly”.
The DGCA’s rules on handling of unruly passengers require an airline to constitute an internal committee comprising a retired District and Sessions Judge as Chairperson, a representative from a different airline, and either a representative from a passenger’s association or a retired officer of a Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum. The committee has 30 days to give its decision though in the interim the airline can impose a ban on the passenger for not more than 30 days. The rules also provide for a ban of three months to lifetime depending on the severity of the misdemeanour.The DGCA had imposed a penalty of ₹30 lakh on Air India in January after the airline failed to report an incident where a heavily inebriated passenger urinated over a woman co-traveller. There was also a delay in forming the internal committee to probe the matter.