Air India CEO regrets urination incident; Airline to review alcohol service | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Air India CEO regrets urination incident; Airline to review alcohol service

Jan 07, 2023 04:56 PM IST

The Air India CEO said that four cabin crew and one pilot have been de-rostered pending investigation over the handling of the November 26 incident, where a drunk male passenger urinated on a female passenger

Air India chief executive officer (CEO) Campbell Wilson on Saturday expressed regret over the November 26 incident on board AI102 New York-Delhi flight, where a drunk male passenger urinated on a female passenger, and said four cabin crew and one pilot have been de-rostered pending investigation over the handling of the issue, and the airline is reviewing its policy on in-flight alcohol service. He acknowledged that the airline could have handled the case better and assured that it is committed to taking action.

Air India chief executive officer (CEO) Campbell Wilson acknowledged that the airline could have handled the case better and assured that it is committed to taking action. (File Photo)
Air India chief executive officer (CEO) Campbell Wilson acknowledged that the airline could have handled the case better and assured that it is committed to taking action. (File Photo)

“Air India is deeply concerned about the in-flight instances where customers have suffered due to the condemnable acts of their co-passengers on our aircraft. We regret and are pained about these experiences,” Wilson said in a statement. “Air India acknowledges that it could have handled these matters better, both in the air and on the ground and is committed to taking action,” he added.

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Aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday issued show cause notice to the airline over the case. The accused in the November 26 urination incident, Shankar Mishra, was arrested by the Delhi police from Bengaluru on Saturday. On Friday, he was sacked by his employer, Wells Fargo, which termed the allegations against him as “disturbing.”

Wilson said that Air India’s internal investigations into whether there were lapses from other staff are going on. It will also look into the aspects including the service of alcohol on flight, incident handling, complaint registration on board and grievance handling.

Campbell said that the airline is commencing a comprehensive education program to strengthen crews’ awareness of and compliance with policies on the handling of incidents and unruly passengers , and to better equip the crew to empathetically assist those affected.

He said the airline is reviewing “policy on service of alcohol in flight”. It is also reviewing the meeting frequency of the DGCA-prescribed ‘Internal Committee’, tasked with assessing incidents, so that cases are assessed, and decisions reach in a timelier manner.

“To improve the robustness of its legacy incident reporting processes, which are presently paper-based and manual, Air India signed a Letter of Intent in December 2022 to acquire a license for the market-leading provider of incident management software, Coruson,” Wilson said.

“In addition to this state-of-the-art software, the airline is also in the process of deploying iPads to Pilots and Senior Cabin Crew. When used together, crew will be able to enter voyage and incident reports electronically, which will then be rapidly and automatically routed to relevant parties including, as required, the Regulator,” he added.

Wilson said that after receiving the complaint over the November 26 urination incident, the airline acknowledged it and commenced engaging with the affected passenger’s family on November 30.

It commenced a refund of the ticket on December 2, with receipt of funds acknowledged by the victim’s family on December 16, he said, adding that the airline initiated the DGCA prescribed ‘Internal Committee’ on December 10.

He claimed that the file was passed to the committee on December 20 and a 30-day interim travel ban was imposed on the male passenger on the same date.

The airline convened four meetings between senior airline staff, the victim, and her family on December 20, 21, 26 and 30 to discuss actions being taken and the progress thereof, Wilson said.

“When the victim’s family requested that Air India lodge a police report during the meeting on December 26, it did so on December 28. Air India and its staff will continue to provide full cooperation to the affected passenger, and regulators and law enforcement authorities as they investigate these cases. We are committed to providing a safe environment for customers and crew, as well as operating in full compliance with all laws and regulations,” he concluded.

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