Monday, May 08, 2017

With no-fly list, the likes of Gaikwad to be grounded

The formalising of the no-fly list in the new Civil Aviation Rules shows that the Union Civil Aviation Ministry has learned the right lessons from the controversy that erupted after Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad abused an Air India staffer and created a ruckus on the flight. Gaikwad was barred from flying by an aviation industry association, but this action in the absence of any mention of a no-fly list in the statute book raised eyebrows.

The airlines took refuge under the extant rules which stated that passengers who are “likely to be unruly” can be “refused embarkation or off-loaded”. There was also confusion about whether this was a one-time bar on entry or could be exercised multiple times. Given these hazy regulations, it was important that the government lay down clearly the different categories of offences and the punishments for each. The new regulations allow an airline to ban an unruly passenger immediately after an incident following which an airline panel will deliberate on whether the passenger was at fault within 10 days.

Subsequently, a passenger found at fault is liable to face suspensions which can range from three months for lighter offences, six months for physical assault and sexual harassment, and two years and more for offences like murderous assault, damaging the airlines, and so on. The offenders can also appeal before an appellate board and even the higher courts are likely to become appellate forums.
08/05/17 DNA