Air India, which recently made headlines after a drunken passenger was caught urinating on a co-passenger on a flight from New York to New Delhi, has been sent another showcause notice, this time for a flight between Paris and Delhi. The regulator has slammed the airline, calling its response "lackadaisical and delayed" and demanded that it answer why action should not be taken against it.
The latest notice involved two separate instances of passenger misbehaviour onboard a Paris-New Delhi flight on December 6. A drunk passenger had urinated on the vacant seat and blanket of a woman passenger and another, also inebriated, was caught smoking in the lavatory, not responding to the instructions of the cabin crew.
A few days before that, on November 26, a drunk man urinated on an elderly woman in the business class of the airline's New York-New Delhi flight.
Air India did not report any of these incidents before they made headlines.
In case of the Paris flight, the DGCA was notified only after it sought a report.
Air India "didn't report the incident until DGCA sought the incident report from them on 05.01.2023," the DGCA said in a statement. The response, which came last week, made it clear that Air India did not comply with the "provisions related to handling of an unruly passengers as per DGCA," the statement read.
When the Paris-Delhi flight of December 6 landed, the airport security was informed that a passenger was under the influence of alcohol. He was not following the instructions of the cabin crew, and later urinated on the blanket of an onboard lady passenger.
The woman, who had initially given a written complaint, had refused to file a police case, so the passenger was allowed to go by the airport security. The matter was reported in the aftermath of the shocking case of the New York-Delhi flight, which has triggered outrage across the country.
The DGCA said not only should an airline report any incident within 12 hours, it should also refer them to an internal committee.
The committee should comprise a retired district and sessions judge as chairman, a representative from a different scheduled airline as a member, and a representative from a passengers' association or consumer association or retired officer of Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum as Member.
The committee shall decide the duration of ban for flying for the unruly passenger, which can be between 30 days and a life ban.