Gaikwad effect: Centre planning no-fly list for unruly passengers
A day after Air India lifted the flying ban on Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, private airlines too followed suit on Saturday. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, however, gave an assurance that safety of air passengers and airline crew is of utmost priority to the government and that unruly or disruptive behaviour will result in ‘severe consequences’. The Minister said the government is planning a no-fly list to keep unruly passengers off flights. Ministry sources said a draft is likely to be issued next week, seeking public opinion.
The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), which comprises Jet Airways, SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo, issued a statement saying it was “restoring the flying privileges to Gaikwad”. Tata Group airlines — Vistara and AirAsia — also allowed Gaikwad to fly again.
FIA’s associate director Ujjwal Dey said, “Consequent to Air India restoring flying privileges to Gaikwad after being satisfied with the statement given by the MP, the FIA member airlines are also restoring the flying privileges to Gaikwad under the assurance that our assets and colleagues shall be accorded the respect that they deserve for the hard work they put in every day.”
On March 24, Air India barred Gaikwad from flying with it after he assaulted a 60-year-old Air India officer with sandals and even tried to throw him off the aircraft at the Delhi Airport. Following suit, the FIA, Vistara and AirAsia India also banned the 56-year-old Gaikwad from flying. This was perhaps the first time all Indian airlines imposed a flying ban on someone for unruly behaviour.
On Friday, Air India revoked its ban after Civil Aviation Ministry asked Air India as well as other airlines to lift the ban imposed on Gaikwad citing the “undertaking of good conduct” given by him. The government revoked the ban after Shiv Sena, a crucial ally of the ruling BJP at the Centre and Maharashtra, pressurized it to do so by threatening to stop flight operations out of Mumbai and Pune airports.
Soon after the airlines revoked the flying ban on Gaikwad, Sinha issued a series of tweets stating that the Ministry was strengthening rules to deal with unruly passengers in a more efficient manner in future. Sinha said that ministry was working on implementation of a no-fly list and warned that unruly air passengers will face “severe consequences”, including police action.
Regarding revoking of the ban on Gaikwad, Sinha said police investigation against Gaikwad was underway and justice would be delivered. He tweeted, “Shri Gaikwad apologised and provided undertaking that such incidents will not reoccur. Therefore, AI has been advised to revoke his ban. A flying ban is meant to prevent future unruly behaviour, not to punish past behaviour. We now have an undertaking for future behaviour.” The rules in India do not provide any absolute authority to airlines to ban passengers from their flights. This is unlike the rules in the US and UK, where airlines can ban passengers and there is a provision of ‘no fly list’ for unruly passengers.
- Ravindra Gaikwad
- Air India
- Jayant Sinha
- Airasia India
- Shiv Sena
- bharatiya janata party
- Jet Airways
- Tata Group
- Civil Aviation