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Govt likely to provide clarity on norms for unruly fliers

The government plans to tweak the norms to deal with unruly fliers as it looks to provide more clarity on regulatory powers amid debate on airlines barring an MP from flying for assaulting an Air India staff.

business Updated: Mar 28, 2017 12:01 IST
FILE - In this May 18, 2012 file photo, Air India planes are parked on the tarmac at the Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India. An Air India plane flying to London was forced to return to Mumbai after passengers spotted a rat on board, the airline said Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer, File)
FILE - In this May 18, 2012 file photo, Air India planes are parked on the tarmac at the Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India. An Air India plane flying to London was forced to return to Mumbai after passengers spotted a rat on board, the airline said Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer, File)(AP)

The government plans to tweak the norms to deal with unruly fliers as it looks to provide more clarity on regulatory powers amid debate on airlines barring an MP from flying for assaulting an Air India staff.

While aviation regulator DGCA has guidelines in place to deal with unruly passengers, there is no specific mention about the possibility of barring any individual from flying for disruptive behaviour.

A senior Civil Aviation Ministry official said the current Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) on ‘Handling of unruly/ disruptive passengers’ has “some gaps” which needs to be plugged.

The Ministry will work towards making some changes in the CAR, which was issued back in November 2014. The revised norms would provide more clarity on preventive measures that can be initiated against any unruly passenger, the official said.

Even though there is no particular mention of regulatory provisions to bar an unruly passenger from boarding an aircraft, the 2014 CAR mentions that “every reasonable effort to protect passengers and personnel against any offence by unruly and disruptive passengers shall be made”.

Among others, the CAR provides for airlines to establish mechanism to detect and report unruly passenger behaviour at check-in, in the lounges, and at the boarding gate in order to prevent such people from boarding.

“In case of occurrence of an act of unruly behaviour while the aircraft is on the ground, such cases shall be reported immediately in writing and First Information Report (FIR) lodged with security agency at the aerodrome for assistance,” as per the CAR.

Later in the evening, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju evaded a direct reply to a query on whether the government would be revising the existing CAR.

“What I have told Parliament holds good,” he said in response to the query on the sidelines of an event here to launch a music video.

On whether he had discussions with Shiv Sena members, the Minister said, “We have discussions” and did not elaborate.

Earlier in the day, Raju had made a statement regarding the incident involving the Shiv Sena MP.

“I never in my wildest dreams thought that an MP will get caught in such an incident... violence of any kind can be disastrous,” he told the Lok Sabha.

Following the assault of a 62-year-old Air India staffer by Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad at the Delhi airport last week, the national carrier as well as six other domestic airlines barred him from taking any of their flights.

The incident as well as the action by the airlines have triggered a controversy on whether an elected representative can be barred from flying in the absence of any specific legal provisions.