Air India tells staff to file police complaints against unruly passengers, mulls no-fly list

Air India tells staff to file police complaints against unruly passengers, mulls no-fly list

Air India chief Ashwini Lohani on Thursday asked the staff not to wait for an approval to file a police complaint in case of misbehaviour or assault by a passenger. The move came on a day when Shiv Sena’s member of Parliament Ravindra Gaikwad allegedly hit a 60-year-old airline duty manager with slippers and even tried to push him off the plane.

“While we have filed two FIRs it is necessary that in all such cases of a passenger misbehaving i.e assaulting air India staff, the airport manager would invariably lodge an FIR with the local police without waiting for any approvals,” Lohani said in a statement released to the staff.

The national carrier was also exploring the possibility of putting the MP on a no-fly list. “Air India is also examining the creation of no-fly list of unruly passengers on the lines of other carriers,” an airline spokesperson said. The two FIRs are for assault and delaying the flight for 40 minutes, the AI said. Police, however, said they received two complaints but no FIR has been registered.

“We will take legal opinion in the matter since the medical examination ruled out any fresh or visible injury. Decision on FIR will be taken after legal opinion,” DCP (airport) Sanjay Bhatia said. The incident was reported from Air India plane AI 852 (Pune-Delhi) which landed at Delhi around 9.35am. “The flight was supposed to be operated to Goa at 10.55am. After arrival of the flight, all passengers disembarked except the MP,” the airline spokesperson said.

The MP was allegedly upset as he didn’t get to fly business. “Since the MP wanted to travel on this flight he was allotted the seat in the first row itself since there is no business class on this flight,” the spokesperson said.

The MP refused to come out of the aircraft for almost an hour and he started hitting the staff when he was requested to deboard, the spokesperson said. As anger grew over the alleged assault, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray summoned Gaikwad to Mumbai.

“The party has sought an explanation from Gaikwad over the incident. The Sena does not condone violence of any kind,” Harshal Pradhan, media adviser to Thackeray, told PTI. Gaikwad remained defiant and didn’t deny hitting Sukumar.

“What did he (the AI official) say…Yes, I beat him with a sandal 25 times. Should I tolerate abuses from the media, from the company (Air India) just because I am an MP?,” Gaikwad told ANI.

This is not the first time that Gaikwad has created a controversy. He was once in news for having allegedly forced a stale chapatti down the throat of a fasting Muslim caterer, complaining about the quality of food served at the Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi.


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