New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the country’s top regulator for air travel, has slapped a fine of Rs 5 lakh on IndiGo airlines for denying boarding of a child with special needs at the Ranchi airport. According to reports, the airline had denied the child to board its Ranchi-Hyderabad flight on May 9 as he was “visibly in panic”. As he was denied entry, his parents, too, decided not to board the flight.
As per report, the incident came to light when another passenger, who was waiting at the airport to board another flight, videographed the entire incident and posted it on social media. As the video went viral, the DGCA set up a three-member panel to probe the incident and sought a report from the airline.
In a statement issued by the air travel regulator, DGCA 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.”
It also added, “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.”
In view of this, the Competent Authority in DGCA has decided to impose a penalty of Rs 5 lakhs on the airline under the provisions of the relevant Aircraft Rules.
— ANI (@ANI) May 28, 2022
Notably, the child, who had had an uncomfortable ride to the airport, was in a “state of panic” at the time of boarding.
The airline manager allegedly told his parents that he could not board the flight unless he acted “normally” and also compared his state to that of drunken passengers, saying that he was a risk to other passengers and, therefore, unfit to travel on the aircraft.