New Delhi: IndiGo Airlines was fined Rs. 5 lakh for refusing to allow a special needs youngster to board an aircraft from Ranchi.
A inquiry revealed that “the handling of the special child by the Indigo ground staff was defective and ended up escalating the issue,” according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the country’s top aviation regulator.
“A more compassionate handling would have smoothened the nerves, calmed the child and would have obviated the need for the extreme step resulting in denied boarding to the passengers,” it said in a statement.
“Special situations deserve extraordinary responses but the Airline staff failed to rise up to the occasion and in the process committed lapses in adherence to the letter and spirit of the Civil Aviation Requirements (Regulations),” the statement said, The responsible body has decided to levy a penalty of Rs. 5 lakh on the airline, according to the statement.
The regulator went on to say that in order to avoid such scenarios, it would evaluate its policies and make the necessary changes.
The ground crew’s reluctance to let the youngster board the plane drew considerable condemnation, causing the aviation regulator to initiate an investigation.
The incident was brought to light after Manisha Gupta, a passenger on the Ranchi-Hyderabad trip on May 7, described the child’s and her parents’ agony when the crew refused to allow them board.
In a social media post that went viral, Ms Gupta said the IndiGo manager kept shouting and telling everyone that the “child is uncontrollable”. Ms Gupta said the other passengers rallied around the family and urged them to let them fly but to no avail.
Responding to the outrage, IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta had said in a statement that they were “forced to make a difficult decision”. “Throughout the check-in and boarding process our intent of course was to carry the family, however, at the boarding area the teenager was visibly in panic. While providing courteous and compassionate service to our customers is of paramount importance to us, the airport staff, in line with the safety guidelines, were forced to make a difficult decision as to whether this commotion would carry forward aboard the aircraft,” he said.
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