Urination case: DGCA issues advisory to airlines on handling unruly passengers
The DGCA advisory underlines the responsibilities of pilots, cabin crew and directors of in-flight services and suggests applying restraining devices against unruly passengers when all conciliatory approaches get exhausted
A day after aviation regulator the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) learnt about two Air India male passengers urinating on women passengers that were not reported to them, it issued an advisory to head of operations of all the scheduled airlines to sensitise their employees on handling unruly passengers.
The advisory issued on Friday has underlined the responsibilities of pilots, cabin crew and directors of in-flight services and suggested that “restraining devices should be used when all conciliatory approaches have been exhausted” in the case of unruly passengers.
DGCA said that inappropriate action by the airlines towards such untoward incidents has tarnished the image of air travel in different segments of society and added that any non-compliance towards applicable regulations will be dealt with strictly and invite enforcement action.
“In the recent past, DGCA has noticed a few incidents of unruly behaviour and inappropriate conduct by the passengers on board the aircraft during flight, wherein it is observed that post holders, pilots and cabin crew members have failed to take appropriate action,” it added.
Stressing on the responsibilities of pilots, cabin crew and directors of flight operations department, the aviation regulator said, “Individual’s responsibility for handling of unruly passenger have been specified under various provisions of Aircraft Rules, 1937, DGCA regulations, circulars and manuals of airlines approved by DGCA…Head of operations are hereby advised to sensitize pilots, cabin crew and Director-in-flight Services of their respective airlines on the topic of handling of unruly passenger through appropriate means under intimation to DGCA. Any non-compliance towards applicable regulations shall be dealt with strictly and invite enforcement action.”
Highlighting the pilot’s responsibility, DGCA said that a pilot in command is responsible for the safety of the passengers and cargo carried and for the maintenance of flight discipline and safety of the members of the crew in addition to being responsible for the operation and safety of the aircraft during flight.
‘Para 4.11 of the civil aviation requirements (CAR) Section 3, Series M, Part VI makes Pilot in command responsible for assessing the situation quickly if the cabin crew can control the situation and accordingly relay this information to the airline’s central control on the ground for further action,” the regulator added.
DGCA also pointed out that the CAR mandates that upon landing, airline representatives should lodge FIR with the security agency concerned, to whom the unruly passenger should be handed over.
DGCA said that the responsibility of a cabin crew is to defuse a critical situation until it becomes clear that there is no way to resolve it through verbal communication and written notice to a passenger.
“Applying restraining devices should be used when all conciliatory approaches have been exhausted,” it added.
On Thursday, DGCA pulled up Air India over the urination incidents saying its handling of the matter was “unprofessional”, “devoid of empathy”, reflected “systemic failures”, and smacked of “dereliction of duty”. The regulator also issued a a show-cause notice asking the company why action should not be taken against them.