Air India grounds Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad again, cancels two more tickets

The Shiv Sena parliamentarian tried to book a ticket through a web portal but a tracker alerted the airline, which cancelled it

india Updated: Apr 07, 2017 12:50 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
PTI, new delhi
Air India,Ravindra Gaikwad,Shiv Sena
Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad speaking in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. (PTI file photo)

Air India once again denied Ravindra Gaikwad permission to fly on the airline and cancelled his tickets between Mumbai and Delhi booked for April 17 and 24. The Shiv Sena parliamentarian had allegedly assaulted an Air India manager on March 23 .

Gaikwad, an MP from Osmanabad, was banned by six airlines after the incident last month. He also admitted on TV hitting the Air India employee with his slippers 25 times. This is the seventh attempt on the part of Gaikwad to book a flight on the airlines.

“There was an attempt to book a ticket at 5 AM today through our web portal. The reservations were being made for April 17 for travel from Delhi to Mumbai and for April 24 from Mumbai to Delhi,” said an airline source.

“We have installed filters in our booking system and six different name combination of Gaikwad have been filtered. Whenever anyone tries to book tickets using these six names, our staff receives an alert ,” said an Air India official.

“Ravindra Gaikwad, R Gaikwad, Prof V Ravindra Gaikwad and Prof Ravindra Gaikwad are the names filtered by our system,” the official said. “Today, the ticket was being booked under the name ‘Ravindra Gaikwad’ and we were alerted through our tracker,” he said.

Yesterday, Gaikwad, in a letter to civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, had conveyed his “regrets” over the “unfortunate incident”, but stopped short of tendering an apology to either the national carrier or to the staffer concerned. The Air India Cabin Crew Association responded by saying that Gaikwad should not be allowed to fly until he tenders an “unconditional apology”.

In a letter to the AI chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani, the association has said that a decision by either the ministry of civil aviation or parliament to lift the ban will affect the morale of the employees.

“Unless he tenders an unconditional apology to AI employees, and undertakes in writing to abide by the Chicago and Tokyo Conventions & Rules of the Air and follow all cabin safety and public behaviour norms, we must not let him on board,” says the letter.

“Ravindra Gaikwad is and will continue to be a risk to flight safety and flight operations and to Cabin Crew safety on board, and hence Government must think long and hard about letting him back on,” the letter added.

The association said it would be a “crying shame” if he is let off “without even a rap on the knuckles”.

The Indian Commercial Pilot’s Association, one of the unions of pilots of Air India, has also demanded an “unconditional apology” from the Shiva Sena MP, failing which they have threatened to not fly him.

“ICPA strongly condemns his misconduct and demands an unconditional apology for the same, failing which we will be constrained to direct our members not to operate any flight which has Mr Ravindra Gaikwad on board in the interest of the safety and security of our own people,” they wrote in a letter to the Civil Aviation Minister.

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First Published: Apr 07, 2017 12:15 IST