DGCA Penalises IndiGo : No Permission for Specially-Abled

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The aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), announced on Saturday that IndiGo had been charged Rs 5 lakh for denying to board a specially-abled child at Ranchi airport on May 7.

Following the boy’s refusal to board the plane, his parents opted not to board as well. IndiGo later stated that the boy was denied boarding on the Ranchi-Hyderabad trip because he appeared to be in distress.

To avoid such scenarios in the future, the regulator said it would reassess its policies and make it essential for airlines to obtain a written assessment of a passenger’s health from an airport doctor before denying boarding. According to the DGCA, the new regulations would also need recorded consultations with the aircraft captain for his or her opinion on permitting such a passenger on board.

This is likely the first time the regulator has issued a fine on an airline since the Aircraft Amendment Act of 2020 gave it the authority to do so without having to go through a civil court. On May 9, the DGCA appointed a three-member committee to investigate the issue.

The Indigo ground staff’s management of the special child was found to be insufficient, which exacerbated the issue,” the regulator stated on Saturday. It said that a more empathetic approach to the issue would have calmed nerves, soothed the boy, and avoided the need for the drastic action that led to the guests being denied boarding.

Special situations demand extraordinary answers, but the airline’s crew failed to rise to the occasion, committing violations of the text and spirit of the Civil Aviation Requirements (regulations) in the process, according to the report. As a result, the DGCA’s competent authority decided to fine the airline Rs 5 lakh, according to the statement. IndiGo was issued a show-cause notice after a three-member team said on May 16 that the airline violated DGCA norms in its preliminary findings.

On May 9, IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta expressed apologies for the event and promised to buy the special needs child an electric wheelchair. Dutta, on the other hand, claimed that the airline’s crew made the best option they could under the circumstances.

Jyotiraditya Scindia, the Civil Aviation Minister, remarked on Twitter on May 9 that no human being should have to go through what the child did, and that he was personally investigating the issue.

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