Saturday, May 13, 2017

Draft rules for a no-fly list need to be more unambiguous

India is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world, fuelled by factors such as rising income levels and competitive airfares. With airlines, particularly low-cost ones, expanding their fleet and network by the day, they are increasingly confronted with instances of unruly behaviour by passengers.
The issue received some much deserved attention in the aftermath of a deplorable assault on an Air India staff member by Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad. In a somewhat belligerent and unprecedented counterattack that pleased the general public, Air India and all private airlines banned the MP from flying on their aircraft.
While the ban was short-lived because of the protagonists involved, and the perpetrator walked free despite media blitzkrieg, the incident highlighted the issue of legality of no-fly lists in India. It was soon realised that no-fly lists had no legal basis and that something had to be done soon to fix it.
The ministry of civil aviation swung into action and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) floated draft rules last week for amending the civil aviation requirements on ‘handling of unruly/disruptive passengers’ and to establish a national no-fly list. The draft rules aim to enhance the safety and security of passengers, crew as well as airlines.
13/05/17 R K Vaidyanathan & Mansi Singh/The Economic Times