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Frisking row: US airline apologises to Kalam

July 22, 2009 11:33 IST
Last Updated: July 22, 2009 11:52 IST

A day after the government ordered a probe into the frisking of former President Dr A P J  Abdul Kalam [Images] at the Indira Gandhi [Images] International Airport in New Delhi [Images], the guilty Continental Airlines has formally apologised.

Kalam frisked by American airline at New Delhi airport

'We apologise to Dr.Kalam for any inconvenience caused. The intention was never to offend the sentiments of Dr. Kalam,' a television report quoted from the apology of the Continental Airlines on Wednesday.

"We reiterate our commitment to comply with the rules," the airlines added.

On Tuesday, a First Information Report was filed against the Continental Airlines' concerned staff for breach of protocol by frisking the former President in April.

Continental Airlines served show cause notice

The case was registered after the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security approached the police against the staff of the American airliner for carrying out pre-embarkation body check of Kalam, which it maintains, is in gross violation of a BCAS circular that exempts specified VVIPs/VIPs from security checks.

'The BCAS has registered an FIR with the SHO, IGI airport police station, against all the concerned staff of the Continental Airlines under Section 11A of Aircraft Act, 1934 for wilful violation of the directions issued by BCAS,' an official statement stated on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Civil Aviation Ministry directed the BCAS to conduct an inquiry into reports about Kalam being frisked by the airline staff on April 21 before he was to board a flight.

'As per the FIR, on April 21, Kalam was traveling by Continental Airlines Flight No.CO-083 from IGI Airport to New York. As he proceeded towards the aircraft, the staff of the Continental Airlines carried out frisking of Kalam in contravention of the BCAS rule even as CISF personnel pointed out that he was exempt from such checks,' the statement stated.

However, the Continental Airlines on Tuesday had clarified that it didn't insult the former President by frisking rather it was done following its policy to frisk everyone, including VIPs and VVIPs.  

'We believe Dr. Kalam was not insulted. It's our policy to frisk everybody including VIPs. There are no special rules for VIPs or VVIPs,' Continental Airlines stated. 

Besides, the Government of India slapped a show cause notice to the US-based Continental Airlines for violating guidelines, in the wake of airliner's 'unpardonable' act.

'Not only the preliminary inquiry has been ordered but we also have a preliminary report on the basis of which the Continental Airlines has been issued a show cause notice why action for wilful violation should not be taken,' Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel [Images] said the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.


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