DGCA imposes ₹5 lakh fine on IndiGo for denying boarding to specially-abled child

The logo of IndiGo Airlines is pictured on a passenger aircraft. File

The logo of IndiGo Airlines is pictured on a passenger aircraft. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

In a first for any airline in the country, the DGCA has imposed a fine of ₹5 lakh on IndiGo for denying boarding to a child with special needs earlier this month at Ranchi airport on the ground that he was a safety risk.

The DGCA has found that IndiGo ground staff’s handling of the special needs child was “deficient” and lacking in sensitivity.

“A more compassionate handling would have smoothened the nerves, calmed the child and obviated the need for denying boarding to the passengers,” DGCA’s Director General Arun Kumar said in a press statement. These findings are based on a fact-finding exercise carried out by a three-member committee constituted by the DGCA which visited the Ranchi airport, met the family members of the special needs child , an eyewitness and met IndiGo officials too.

This is the first time the regulator has imposed a fine on an airline after the Aircraft Amendment Act, 2020 empowered it to levy fines without approaching a civil court.

The DGCA has also said that it will also make amendments to the Civil Aviation Requirement on “Carriage by Air- Persons with Disability or with reduced mobility” to ensure written consultation with the airport doctor on the state of the passenger’s health as well as the opinion of the Pilot-in-Command on allowing such a passenger on board before he or she is denied boarding.

The regulator also wants airlines to revisit their standard operating procedures and training processes for dealing with people with disabilities.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 7:42:00 pm |