Senior Air India officials are meeting on Friday to decide how to blacklist Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who assaulted an Air India official at Delhi Airport, and create a no-fly list for unruly passengers.
Gaikwad had hit a 60-year-old airline duty manager with his sandal on Thursday on a Pune-Delhi flight AI 852. He was allegedly angry because Air India changed his seat from business to economy class.
The MP refused to come out of the aircraft for almost an hour. He started hitting the staff when he was requested to de-board. Air India said Gaikwad had an open ticket for business class, which means he could have travelled in any Air India flight.
“The legal team will also suggest ways. We will prepare a list of such flyers in the past two years and put their details in the system. Once they try to book through Air India, their name will be showed in the blacklisted category,” said an Air India official.
The airline will also come up with a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and guidelines and define various parameters of unruly behaviour.
“Harassing an air hostess or manhandling airline staff will fall under the category and we will define other parts of unruly behaviour of passengers. We will see how other airlines are doing it,” the official added.
However, it is going to take a lot of effort since unlike private airlines, Air India comes under the ministry of civil aviation. The national carrier will need to approach the ministry and get a notification issued to ban a passenger and prepare a SOP.
Air India chief Ashwini Lohani has already asked his staff not to wait for an approval to file a police complaint in the case of misbehaviour or assault by a passenger.
“While we have filed two FIRs it is necessary that in all such cases of a passenger misbehaving ie assaulting an Air India staff, the airport manager would invariably lodge an FIR with the local police without waiting for any approvals,” Lohani said in a statement released to the staff.
This will be the first time Air India will ban any passenger from flying on its flights.
There have been several incidents of unruly behaviour by the fliers on board various airlines in the recent times. Officials say 53 such incidents have been reported by the domestic airlines between July 2016 and February 2017.
Last month, AirAsia India filed a police complaint in Bengaluru against two drunk fliers for creating “nuisance” onboard one of its flights. In January, IndiGo was forced to tie down a passenger to his seat for being violent onboard one of its flight from Dubai for New Delhi.
According to the global aviation body, International Air Transport Association (IATA), “unruly passengers” are one of the top three safety issues that concern cabin crew.
It said in 2015, there were 10,854 reported cases of unruly behaviour by the passengers across airlines worldwide, which translate into one incident for every 1,205 flights.
(With PTI inputs)