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National carrier Air India is considering imposing a penalty of up to Rs 15 lakh on unruly passengers causing flight delays, a move coming in the aftermath of incidents involving some MPs. The proposal comes within a month of Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad assaulting an Air India staffer inside the aircraft upon landing here, prompting the national carrier and other airlines to ban him for two weeks from their flights. The ban was revoked after he wrote a letter to Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, regretting the episode. There have been several incidents in recent past of unpleasant scenes involving the airline staff and their passengers, including MPs. Now, Air India is mulling to penalise passengers who delay flights with their unruly behaviour, airline sources said. As per a draft proposal, the fine would be Rs 5 lakh for delay up to one hour and the amount would be Rs 10 lakh in case the delay is between one to two hours, sources said. The fine would increase to Rs 15 lakh for delay of more than two hours. Besides, the airline plans to provide necessary training to the staff for dealing with unruly passengers. Since the incident involving Gaikwad on March 23, the national carrier as well as the government have been exploring ways to bolster the existing mechanism to rein in unruly passengers. In another incident, an Air India flight between Delhi and Kolkata got delayed following a row involving Trinamool Congress MP Dola Sen and the airline staff earlier this month. Back in 2015, another MP had assaulted an Air India officer at Tirupati airport. Under the new procedure proposed to be followed in such cases, the airline wants the flight staff to report such matters immediately to the CMD (Chairman and Managing Director) or other top officials and avoid any direct interaction with the media. Besides, an FIR or police complaint would need to be filed immediately and any property damage would need to be assessed and claimed at the earliest, sources said.
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