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Passenger’s wheelchair raises security concerns, stopped from boarding Air India plane in Bengaluru

The passenger alleged that the aircrew raised concerns over the battery of his wheelchair even though security had cleared it. Air India said he broke security protocol.

india Updated: Dec 19, 2017 21:33 IST
PTI, Bengaluru
Air India,Wheelchair passenger,Airport security
An Air India aircraft takes off from an airport. The passenger was denied boarding due to security concerns(Reuters File )

A wheelchair-bound passenger on Tuesday alleged he was not allowed to board an Air India flight from Bengaluru to Kolkata on December 17 as he had declined to “remove wires” from the battery of his wheelchair.

Kaushik Majumdar, an associate professor at Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), told PTI that the battery is disconnected every time the wheelchair is loaded in the aircraft and this time too he disconnected it.

“Some weird staff, however, insisted on removing all the wires from the battery, which would have completely ruined the equipment, on which I depend,” he said, adding, he declined to do so.

Majumdar said he never faced this situation since he started travelling by Air India after joining the ISI as a faculty member in 2009.

“My electric wheelchair is always loaded in the cargo hold and this time too it was to be loaded there.I never asked for its loading inside the passenger area,” he said.

In all airlines including Air India, disconnecting the battery from the wheelchair joystick controller is enough, Majumdar said.

“Why then an exception was made in AI 776 on December 17? Who are responsible? I want an answer,” he said, adding that the chair had cleared security smoothly.

The airline however said Majumdar had not adhered to safety protocol.

Air India general manager for corporate communications GP Rao said no passenger can violate the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s norms and safety of passengers was very important.

The passenger (Majumdar) had promised to remove the battery at the boarding gate, but refused to do it when he reached there, he said.

Subsequently, the pilot was informed about it and he took a call not to allow the passenger in the aircraft, Rao added.

First Published: Dec 19, 2017 21:33 IST