Unruly passengers: DGCA issues advisory to airlines

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New Delhi: Aviation regulator DGCA on Monday issued an advisory to airlines reiterating the existing provisions in place to deal with unruly passengers.

The advisory comes against the backdrop of rising incidents of unruly passengers onboard flights and also on a day when a male passenger was deboarded by Air India from a Delhi-London flight for causing physical harm to two cabin crew members.

In an advisory, DGCA said there are provisions under the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) for action to be taken by the airline to deal with unruly passengers.

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Besides, it said the responsibilities of pilots, cabin crew members and the director of inflight services are also mentioned in the CAR.

DGCA said that in the recent past, it has noticed a few incidents such as smoking in aircraft, consumption of alcoholic beverages resulting in unruly behaviour, altercations between passengers and sometimes inappropriate touching or sexual harassment by the passengers onboard an aircraft during the flight, wherein “post holders, pilots and cabin crew members have failed to take appropriate actions”.

“Such incidents have potential of compromising the safety of aircraft operations,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.

The watchdog has advised the heads of operations of all airlines to sensitise their pilots, cabin crew and post holders on handling of unruly passengers through appropriate means.

The measures can be “but not limited to training programme for ensuring effective monitoring, maintenance of good order and discipline on board the aircraft so that safety of aircraft operations is not jeopardised in any manner,” the advisory said.

DGCA regulations provide for classifying unruly passenger behaviour into three levels and such people can face flying ban for varying periods.

Unruly behaviour such as physical gestures, verbal harassment and unruly inebriation are classified as Level 1 while physically abusive behaviour like pushing, kicking or sexual harassment will be classified as Level 2.

Life threatening behaviour such as damage to aircraft operating systems, physical violence like choking and murderous assault will be considered as Level 3.

Depending on the level of unruly behaviour, an internal committee set up by the airline concerned can decide on the duration for which an unruly passenger can be banned from flying.

On Monday, Air India deboarded an unruly male passenger who caused physical harm to two cabin crew members onboard a Delhi-London flight, which returned to the national capital shortly after departure.

The passenger was handed over to the security personnel after the flight AI 111 landed at the Delhi airport and an FIR has also been lodged with the police, the airline said in a statement.

In a written reply to Rajya Sabha on April 3, Minister of State for Civil Aviation V K Singh said as many as 63 persons were put in the ‘No Fly List’ by airlines in 2022.

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( With inputs from )

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