New Delhi [India]: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Saturday imposed a penalty of Rs 5 lakh on IndiGo airline for denying boarding to a specially-abled child at Ranchi Airport in Jharkhand.
DGCA in a statement said that the incident that occurred on May 7 this year in which a special child with reduced mobility, along with other members of his family, was denied boarding at Ranchi Airport.
An enquiry was conducted by DGCA and based on the findings during the enquiry, a show-cause notice was issued to Indigo Airline through its authorised representative. Further to meet the ends of justice, a personal hearing along with the opportunity of making written submissions was afforded by the DGCA and after following the due process of law, it has been observed that the handling of the special child by the IndiGo ground staff was deficient and ended up exacerbating the situation, the statement read.
“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,” it added.
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 statement mentioned.
“In view of this, 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,” the regulator said.
Further to stave off such situations in future, DGCA shall revisit its own regulations and bring about the necessary changes in due course and mandate were written consultation with the Airport Doctor on the state of health of the passenger as well as with the Commander of the Aircraft for his/her opinion in allowing such passenger on board.
Airlines should also revisit their Standard Operating Procedures and training processes for dealing with such cases, in order to bring a more humane touch, the statement read.
On May 16, DGCA had issued a show-cause notice to domestic carrier IndiGo for the incident on May 7 in which an IndiGo manager did not allow a specially-abled child to board a flight at Ranchi Airport. The entire incident was recorded by other passengers and went viral on social media.