Saturday, May 27, 2017

Fly High, But Lie low: The DGCA's new Civil Aviation Requirement

The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India’s aviation watchdog, recently issued a Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) regarding handling of unruly/disruptive passengers. Issued under the Aircraft Rules, 1937 and framed in pursuance of the Indian Aircraft Act, 1934, the CAR acknowledges that unruly behavior of any sort, on board an aircraft or during embarkation/disembarkation, interferes with the performance of crew members’ duties.

It also notes that such disruptive behavior jeopardizes the safety of the aircraft, the persons on board and most importantly, affects good order and discipline on a plane. Recognizing the potential harm, any kind of disruptive behavior is now likely to invite penal action in accordance with these proposed requirements.

The definition of “disruptive passenger” under the CAR is very wide and also somewhat vague to include any passenger who disturbs “good order” and “discipline”. These terms haven’t been defined in the proposed requirements, but include, inter-alia, individuals who illegally consume narcotics or cigarettes while on board, individuals who refuse to comply with safety instructions, any passenger who verbally or physically confronts a crew member or other passengers or threatens them which could affect the safety of the crew, other passengers and aircraft, or any individual who sexually abuses or harasses a member of the crew or another passenger.

The proposed requirements contain 3 levels of interference, level 1 (light), level 2 (moderate), level 3 (serious/flight decks), bringing the CAR in consonance with international industry recommendations.

The above noted CAR applies to all Indian operators engaged in scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services both on the domestic and international sector. They also apply to foreign carriers engaged in scheduled air transport operating to and from India, all airport operators within Indian territory, and all passengers during their air travel in India.
26/05/17 Satvik Varma/Vikrant Pachnanda/Bar & Bench