Passenger hits IndiGo pilot announcing fog-induced delay of Goa-bound flight | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Passenger hits IndiGo pilot announcing fog-induced delay of Goa-bound flight

Jan 15, 2024 02:56 PM IST

A video of the assault, which went viral on Sunday, purportedly shows Sahil Kataria, the passenger, charging at Captain Anup Kumar before hitting him as the cabin crew breaks down

A passenger hit an IndiGo pilot as he was announcing the delay of a Goa-bound flight on the day a thick smog plunged visibility to zero at the Delhi airport from 5am to 10am and delayed over 400 flights.

The assault provoked outrage and prompted calls for declaring Sahil Kataria an unruly passenger and putting him on the no-fly list. (PTI)
The assault provoked outrage and prompted calls for declaring Sahil Kataria an unruly passenger and putting him on the no-fly list. (PTI)

A video of the assault, which went viral on Sunday, purportedly shows Sahil Kataria, the passenger, charging at Captain Anup Kumar before hitting him as the cabin crew breaks down. It provoked outrage and prompted calls for declaring Kataria an unruly passenger and putting him on the no-fly list.

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The Delhi Police said they received a complaint and were taking appropriate action. There was no immediate statement from IndiGo even as an official said Kataria was detained. “The aviation security agency has begun investigating the incident,” said the official, requesting anonymity. “The passenger hit the pilot while he was announcing the flight delay around 1pm.”

Calm winds, a dip in temperature, and the mixing of smoke with fog led to the worst smog episode this year on Sunday, triggering chaos at the airport. The visibility at the Delhi airport dipped below 200m at 12.30am before plunging to zero from 5am to 10am on Sunday. It also caused a diversion of 10 and a cancellation of 20 flights.

The flight operations into and out of the national capital were in disarray throughout the day due to the residual impact even as the air cleared up around the afternoon. Flightradar24, a portal that tracks flights globally, said the average delay for aircraft taking off from or landing in Delhi between 7am and 11am was nearly 2.5 hours.

No flight could take off from Delhi for two hours due to zero visibility on Sunday morning. Flight duty time limitations meant that airlines had a tough time arranging for the crew at the last minute to operate flights.

There was no immediate comment from the aviation regulator Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on the assault. DGCA defines an unruly passenger as one who “fails to respect the rules of conduct at an airport or on board an aircraft or to follow the instructions of the airport staff or crew members and thereby disturbs the good order and discipline at an airport or on board the aircraft”.

At least 166 passengers have been put on the no-fly list to date. Unruly behaviour has three categories. Physical gestures, verbal harassment, and unruly inebriation come under category one. Physically abusive behaviour (pushing, kicking, hitting, grabbing or inappropriate touching or sexual harassment, etc) is under category two. Category three includes life-threatening behaviour (damage to aircraft operating systems, physical violence such as choking, eye gouging, murderous assault, attempted or actual breach of the flight crew compartment, etc).

Airlines have the option of banning a person placed on the no-fly list from taking flights to/from/within India for a duration of between three months to forever depending on the category of the offence.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    I am a principal correspondent with the national political bureau of the Hindustan Times. I track the aviation and railways ministry. I also write on travel trends. I cover the beats at the national level for the newspaper. Before being in Delhi, I have worked as a journalist in Mumbai as well. My hobbies include trekking and travelling.

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