Shiv Sena MP grounded: Air India cancels Ravindra Gaikwad’s ticket fearing backlash from employees
Gaikwad, who has been unapologetic about the incident which took place Thursday, was booked on a Delhi to Pune flight, AI 849, scheduled for departure at 4pm today.india Updated: Mar 24, 2017 15:06 IST
State carrier Air India on Friday barred Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who had assaulted a staffer, from its flights and even cancelled his return ticket to Pune from here, anticipating a backlash by its employees.
Gaikwad, who has been unapologetic about the incident which took place yesterday, was booked on a Delhi to Pune flight, AI 849, scheduled for departure at 4pm on Friday.
Air India said it has also written to the Shiv Sena communicating its decision to cancel the ticket. Shiv Sena Secretary Anil Desai said he has asked Gaikwad to change his travel plans as the party doesn’t want the tension to escalate.
Gaikwad, an MP from Osmanabad in Maharashtra, refused to deboard a Pune-Delhi Air India flight on Thursday morning and hit a AI staffer with slippers 25 times over allegedly being denied a business class seat.
Four other airlines -- IndiGo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and GoAir -- have also banned him and and demanded exemplary action against the politician whose actions have triggered widespread outrage.
“We have intimated Shiv Sena that we can’t fly Gaekwad on his return flight because our employees are agitated. He has assured us that the party will advise the MP not to fly Air India today,” said an Air India source.
“Our airport employees have said that they won’t attend to him and they won’t let him enter. In order to avoid any violence, we have written to Shiv Sena,” he added.
Gaikwad told TV channels this morning, “I am booked on a 4pm flight to Pune. I will take that flight. How can they not let me travel when I have a booking and I am their passenger.”
Desai, also an MP, said that he has “acceded” to Air India’s request and has also asked Gaikwad to “change his travel plans”.
“An Air India official called me that their staff is upset over the issue. I have acceded to their request by asking my MP not to go ahead with his plan to fly Air India today,” said Desai .
“I have also asked him to change his travel plans. We don’t intend to escalate the tension,” he added.