Days after chaos on Kangana Ranaut's flight, DGCA pulls up IndiGo; issues strong warning to others
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has written a strongly worded letter to IndiGo CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, listing out the violations that allegedly took place on the Chandigarh-Mumbai flight in which some mediapersons violated safety and social distancing norms while reporting about Kangana Ranaut, who was travelling to Mumbai. The aviation regulator has instructed IndiGo to take action against all those who violated guidelines and SOPs, and submit an action taken report within 15 days. The DGCA warned it will take suitable action if the airlines fails to submit the report. On Friday, DGCA said there are multiple issues involved in the case. The prominent ones include photography on board a flight (violation of Aircraft rules 13), violation of Covid-19 protocols and certain actions falling within the purview of unruly behavior on board. "We have asked IndiGo to take appropriate action against those responsible," a DGCA official had said. Actor Kangana Ranaut was travelling in the said flight from her hometown in Manali to Mumbai on September 9 after making a public announcement that she would be travelling to Mumbai despite "receiving threats" from some political parties.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, DGCA also issued an order stating that a scheduled flight will be suspended for a period of two weeks if anyone is found taking photographs inside the plane. DGCA's announcement comes a day after it asked IndiGo to take "appropriate action" after it found an alleged violation of safety and social distancing protocols by media persons in the airline's Chandigarh-Mumbai flight that had actor Kangana Ranaut as a passenger. According to a video of the incident that took place inside Wednesday's flight, reporters and cameramen were jostling and bunching up to get a comment from Kangana Ranaut, who was sitting in one of the front rows of the plane.
The DGCA order on Saturday said, "It has been decided that from now on, in case any violation (photography) occurs on any scheduled passenger aircraft -- the schedule of flight for that particular route shall be suspended for a period of two weeks from the next day (of the incident)." The order was sent to all the domestic airlines in India. The order stated that as per Rule 13 of the Aircraft Rules 1937, no person is allowed to take photographs inside a flight, except when permission is granted by the DGCA or the Civil Aviation Ministry. "In spite of these regulations, it has been noted that at times, the airlines have failed to follow these stipulations primarily because of lack of diligence on their part," the order noted. "Needless to say that such deviations result in compromise in maintaining the highest standards of safety and therefore, is not to be allowed," it mentioned. Therefore, the order said if any incident of photography takes place inside any flight, that scheduled flight will be suspended for a period of two weeks and it will be "restored only after the airline has taken all the necessary punitive action against those responsible for the violation". As per the DGCA rules, an airline can put an "unruly passenger" on its "no-fly list" for a certain period of time after an internal enquiry.