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Incident unacceptable, shameful: Scindia on Mumbai tarmac food row

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
January 19, 2024 01:32 IST
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Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Thursday addressed the recent incident in which Indigo flight passengers were seated on the tarmac and served food at Mumbai airport, calling it "unacceptable and shameful", and said that penalties were imposed.

IMAGE: Oassengers of a Delhi-bound IndiGo flight diverted to Mumbai (confirmed by airport sources) due to operational issues are seen eating and sitting on the airport tarmac at Mumbai Airport, in Mumbai, January 16, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

The safety and security of citizens is primary for the government, he said.


"Within hours of being informed or getting to know of the incident happening, beyond midnight a meeting was held with all officials within the ministry. The show cause notice was issued immediately," he told reporters in Hyderabad during the civil aviation conclave and exhibition Wings India 2024, which began here today.

He was responding when asked how he proposed to ensure that the tarmac incident is not repeated in future, and that the watchdog takes action and airlines are penalised.

He said that the fact that passengers were inconvenienced and that they had to eat on the tarmac -- an incident that also compromised security across all points -- was unacceptable and shameful.

The minister pointed out that within three to four hours, notices were issued and within 24 hours, the necessary penalties were levied.

"This or any incident like this is unacceptable for us. Therefore, penalties were issued," he said.

He added that two separate Civil Aviation Requirements were issued.

"Certainly what happened was unacceptable and it was a shameful incident. I don't mind saying that very, very clearly," he said.

Scindia also said there were a few days of zero visibility and it becomes difficult, if not impossible, for landings and take-offs on such days even with CAT III runways, which are built to handle such exigencies.

"So, that caused a chain of events which led to this aircraft coming into the airport and then, as opposed to it going into a parking stand, for reasons I can't even imagine, it was sent off into a parking bay," he said.

Aviation regulators BCAS and DGCA on Wednesday slapped penalties totalling Rs 2.70 crore on IndiGo, Mumbai airport operator MIAL, Air India and SpiceJet for various violations.

Days after a video of IndiGo passengers having food on the Mumbai airport tarmac was widely shared, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) slapped fines of Rs 1.20 crore on the airline and Rs 60 lakh on MIAL.

The DGCA imposed a penalty of Rs 30 lakh on the airport operator, according to separate orders.

Separately, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation had slapped a penalty of Rs 30 lakh each on Air India and SpiceJet for their failure to comply with the rostering of pilots for operating flights in low visibility conditions.

The penal action came more than two weeks after Delhi airport faced significant flight disruptions due to dense fog that resulted in low visibility conditions.

Asked if he would take re-look at the charter of rights for passengers in view of incidents where passengers were left stranded and protesting on the tarmac, he said airlines, in the SOPs, have been instructed to treat a flight as cancelled if they expect it to be delayed beyond three hours.

"One of the things that we have done in those SOPs is that we have instructed airlines that if you are looking at your flight being delayed beyond three hours, you must treat that flight as cancelled," Scindia said.

"So, therefore, this question that you are talking about, with regard to six-hour delays and eight-hour delays should now become a thing of the past. Because, it is being monitored," he said.

He also said the SOPs of informing passengers about cancellations, delays of flights and others are being monitored twice-thrice daily by the DGCA.

Therefore, if there is any violation of those rules, strict action will be taken, as was the case with regard to Flight Duty Time Limitations where in fog season, two airlines violated the FTDL rules, he said, adding that those two penalties had also been issued on Wednesday.

On Akasa Air placing an order for 150 Boeing 737 Max planes, he said it is a landmark order.

"...landmark order, the first order of its kind to be signed in India for the procurement of aircraft in triple-digits. Akasa's order of 150 Boeing aircraft is the first order to be signed on Indian soil. And this is in addition to the already 22 that are in their fleet and the balance 54 that are awaiting delivery," he said.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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