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Parliamentary panel raps airlines for ‘rude’ conduct

The panel has asked the government to frame a standardised training programme suitable to Indian conditions, emphasising courteous behaviour to the passengers.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2018 22:35 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji & P Suchetana Ray
Saubhadra Chatterji & P Suchetana Ray
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Airlines,Parliamentary panel,Indigo
The panel on transport, tourism and culture, in its draft report, particularly singled out Indigo airlines for its employees’ misbehaviour. (File)

Expressing concern over the ‘rude’ behaviour of domestic airlines’ employees towards passengers, a parliamentary panel said in a report that air carriers should train their staff in soft skills in order to improve ‘consumer satisfaction’.

The panel on transport, tourism and culture, in its draft report titled ‘Issues Related to Improving Consumers’ Satisfaction of Airlines’, particularly singled out Indigo airlines for its employees’ ‘misbehaviour’. The airline has been shrouded in a controversy after its staff manhandled a passenger last year

“While narrating some of the incidents of misbehaviour in airlines, especially in Indigo, majority of the members opined that the attitude of the airlines’ staff is very condescending, often uncooperative and on many occasions, downright rude,” the report said.

The panel has asked the government to frame a standardised training programme “suitable to Indian conditions, emphasising courteous behaviour to the passengers”.

India’s civil aviation sector has seen a boom in terms of passenger growth but it has been accompanied by a rise in complaints related to customer service, flight cancellation and delays.

People familiar with the matter said the panel, headed by Trinamool Congress’ Derek O’Brien, also took note of the incident in which an Indigo ground staff manhandled a passenger at the Delhi Airport in October. The airline later apologised to the flyer and explained its employee’s actions to Directorate General of Civil Aviation, India’s aviation regulatory body,

When contacted, Indigo declined to comment on the House panel’s report.

India’s aviation sector has seen double digit growth for over three years. Among the domestic airlines, IndiGo dominated Indian skies with a market share of 39.5% in November followed by Jet Airways at 17.4%, Air India at 13.5%, SpiceJet at 12.6% and GoAir at 8.9%.

The panel’s draft report, to be presented in Parliament during the winter session, said the “problems affecting airlines are not personal but institutional”. It recommended that employees of airlines should be trained to effectively manage crises such as delays and diversion.

The parliamentary committee also criticised the training process adopted by the airlines. “In some cases, the training programmes are non-existent or just for namesake,” the report stated.

The panel has asked the government to make arrangements so that passengers don’t need to spend more than 10 minutes at check-in counters. Aviation experts, however, pointed out that the responsibility to reduce long queues is also that of airport operators. They will have to provide more space to airlines to increase the number of counters and hence reduce delays while checking in, they added.

First Published: Jan 03, 2018 22:35 IST