The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the country’s top regulator for air travel, has on Saturday imposed a penalty of Rs. 5 lakh for IndiGo for denying boarding to a specially abled child at the Ranchi airport recently.
The DGCA said that a probe had found that “the handling of the special child by the Indigo ground staff was deficient and ended up exacerbating the situation”. The regulator also added that to prevent such situations, it shall revisit its regulations and bring about necessary changes.
In the case involving a special child with reduced mobility, who along with the other family members were denied boarding at Ranchi Airport on 7 May 2022, an enquiry was conducted by DGCA and based on the findings during the enquiry, a show cause notice was issued to Indigo Airline through its authorized representative, according to an official media communique.
Further to meet the ends of justice, a personal hearing along with the opportunity of making written submissions was afforded by the DGCA and after following the due process of law it has been observed that the handling of the special child by the Indigo ground staff was deficient and ended up exacerbating the situation.
A more compassionate handling would have smoothened the nerves, calmed the child and would have obviated the need for the extreme step resulting in denied boarding to the passengers. Special situations deserve extraordinary responses but the Airline staff failed to rise up to the occasion and in the process committed lapses in adherence to the letter and spirit of the Civil Aviation Requirements (Regulations). In view of this, the Competent Authority in DGCA has decided to impose a penalty of Rs. Five Lakhs on the airline under the provisions of the relevant Aircraft Rules.
Further to stave off such situations in future, DGCA shall revisit its own regulations and bring about the necessary changes in due course and mandate written consultation with the Airport Doctor on the state of health of the passenger as well as with the Commander of the Aircraft for his/her opinion in allowing such passenger on board. Airlines should also revisit their Standard Operating Procedures and training processes for dealing with such cases, in order to bring a more humane touch.
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