Guwahati: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has imposed a penalty of Rs 5 lakh on IndiGo for failing to adequately handle the case of a special child at Ranchi airport.
DGCA in a statement said, “It has been observed that the handling of the special child by the Indigo ground staff was deficient and ended up exacerbating the situation. 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.”
“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). In view of this, the Competent Authority in DGCA has decided to impose a penalty of Rs. Five Lakhs on the airline under the provisions of the relevant Aircraft Rules,” the statement added.
WHAT HAPPENED AT RANCHI AIRPORT?
An IndiGo manager allegedly mistreated a specially-abled child at the Ranchi airport on May 7. The incident came to light after an eye-witness account of the incident went viral on social media. The airlines also issued a statement after the post.
According to Abhinandan Mishra, who was present at the spot when the incident took place, the child had an uncomfortable car ride to the airport and was visibly stressed upon arrival at the boarding gate. His parents, however, brought the situation under control with some ‘food and love’.
The child, who was stressed after an uncomfortable car ride to the airport, was brought under control by his parents. However, at the time of boarding, an IndiGo manager warned the family that the child would not be allowed to board the plane unless the child acted ‘normally’.
The manager also reportedly announced that the specially-abled child is a risk to other passengers and compared his condition (teenage assertiveness) to that of drunken passengers before deeming him un-fit for travelling on their aircraft. Despite several co-passengers opposing his move, the manager remained unmoved.
Afterwards, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia promised appropriate action over the incident.
On May 16, India’s aviation regulator DGCA said that the IndiGo staff inappropriately handled a specially-abled teen at the Ranchi airport.