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“Why was I not consulted?” Pilot who flew Comedian Kunal Kamra objects the ban

The pilot flying IndiGo’s Mumbai-Lucknow flight wrote to the management of the airlines questioning why wasn’t he consulted before barring the comedian.

New Delhi| The IndiGo pilot who flew Kunal Kamra has written to the airline’s management asking why was he not consulted before a ban was put on the comedian for heckling a senior TV Editor on an IndiGo flight on Tuesday.

“I was disheartened to learn that my Airline has taken action in this case solely on the basis of Social Media posts, with no consultation whatsoever with the Pilot-in-Command. This is somewhat unprecedented in my nine years of Airline flying,” reads the letter by the Captain to the IndiGo management according to NDTV.

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The Captain said Kunal Kamra’s behaviour, “while unsavoury, was not qualifying of a level 1 unruly passenger” and that he did not find the events reportable in any way.

In the email, the captain goes on to ask: “Am I to understand that the bar for interpretation of a disruptive passenger is lower/different when it comes to high profile cases?” as the incident “leaves a lot of room for ambiguity.”

PTI has quoted IndiGo as saying they “have received the relevant statements and the internal committee has initiated the investigation regarding this incident.”

Kunal Kamra has been banned by IndiGo for six months on Wednesday. Three more airlines – Air India, SpiceJet and GoAir – also banned him “till further notice” after the government announced it was urging other airlines to follow IndiGo’s example.

On Twitter, the DGCA said: “the matter is to be referred to the internal committee” that will give a final decision, within 30 days, that will be “binding on the airline concerned”. However, later he said rolled back from his statement saying the internal committee has been put in place to look in the matter.

According to the DGCA there are three categories in the list of passengers banned from flying.

The first of these, which appears to be closest to the Civil Aviation Minister’s description of Mr Kamra’s behaviour – i.e. “offensive behaviour designed to provoke & create a disturbance” – is “disruptive behaviour”, for which the maximum punishment is only a three-month ban.

The other two – “physically abusive behaviour” and “endangering aircraft and passengers” – carry bans of six months and two years, respectively.

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