A fortnight after five Jet Airways flight attendants were benched for aiding an impromptu Sonu Nigam concert inflight, the country’s aviation regulator is now probing a complaint against Indigo Airlines for promoting a movie.
According to complaints received by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the airline has been using its public address (PA) system for promoting the movie.
“Use of PA systems should be limited for safety announcements. Such promotional activities could lead to safety lapses,” said a senior DGCA official, requesting anonymity.
An Indigo Airlines spokesperson said that promotional activities on flights were not new.
“On board promotions and announcements have been in practice in the industry and are not new. IndiGo is an official airline partner for the forthcoming film Neerja. In flight announcement is being leveraged as a medium to pay tribute to Neerja Bhanot’s awe inspiring heroism collectively with passengers flying with us,” read a statement issued by the budget carrier.
“In the past, IndiGo has made similar inflight announcements to inform/involve passengers during sensitive times - like Srinagar floods, 2014. As an airline, we always comply with the DGCA guidelines,” the statement further read.
While a section of industry experts said that the DGCA was been harsh over the usage of PA systems, some felt that keeping it sacrosanct was better.
“Often we say things like try a parantha at Chandni Chowk on the system for our foreign guests. If that is allowed, how can this be a violation?” said a flight attendant with a private airline, who did not wish to be named.
A former Boeing commander, however, said that the cabin crew have their hands full and additional tasks on board could be a burden.
“In addition to the basic tasks of safety instructions and meal service, these days, flight attendants also have to sell merchandise on board. Any more pressure on them could lead to safety slips,” said the commander, on condition of anonymity.