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'Unruly' passengers to be barred from flying for 3 months to over 2 years

No-fly list has three levels for disruptive behaviour with different grounding periods

Arindam Majumder  |  New Delhi 

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The Centre on Friday proposed for a "no-fly list", the first of its kind in the world, that allow airlines to bar from flying for up to two years. 

The were issued months after a parliamentarian was caught on camera assaulting an airline crew member for not being able to provide him a business class seat in an all-economy flight.

Disruptive behaviour like physical gestures; abusive behaviour like pushing, kicking and sexual harassment; and life-threatening behaviour will ground offenders for three, six and 24 months, respectively. 

The proposed will be open for public comments for a month before being finalised. 

"There is no other country in the world with a based on safety. There are no-fly lists based on security, where people seen as threats are not allowed to fly. India is blazing a new trail in this regard," said Jayant Sinha, minister of state for civil aviation.

The government has proposed an appeals committee to be headed by a retired high court judge with members from passenger associations or retired consumer dispute forum officers and airline executives. “All grievances will be addressed within 30 days,” said Rajiv Nayan Choubey, civil aviation secretary.

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“Airlines can ban a passenger from flying immediately, but that passenger will not figure in the immediately,” he added.

Choubey said international airlines, too, could use these inputs if they wanted to. 

A airline executive said the deterrence measures should be stiffer. “To be effective, they should be doubled for minor to moderate infractions, and life-threatening activities should invite a lifetime ban,” the executive said.

A second airline executive said the government must smoothen the process for filing complaints. “Many incidents go unreported as the crew cannot come to airport police stations day after day for investigations. The process must be streamlined,” he said.

Aviation
From left, Secretary Ministry of Civil Aviation RN Choubey, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State for Civil Aviation at a press conference in New Delhi (Photo: PTI)
The International Air Transport Organisation (IATA) has urged India to ratify the Montreal Protocol 2014. “Unruly passenger incidents affect airlines around the world on a daily basis, we urge India to ratify it to enhance deterrence against disruptive passenger incidents,” the said.

Ravindra Gaikwad, a Shiv Sena MP from Osmanabad in Maharashtra, had in March assaulted 60-year-old Air India employee R Sukumar over a seating issue. Flying restrictions were imposed on Gaikwad but were subsequently lifted after protests by Shiv Sena MPs and an undertaking by Gaikwad that such an incident would not recur.

“Enactment and enforcement of this law should not be partial. Nobody, including lawmakers, should be above this law,” said Mark Martin of aviation consultancy firm Martin Consultancy. 

First Published: Sat, September 09 2017. 01:40 IST
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