The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakhs on IndiGo airline for denying boarding to a specially-abled child at Ranchi airport earlier this month.
"It has been observed that the handling of the special child by the Indigo ground staff was deficient and ended up exacerbating the situation," said a statement by the aviation watchdog.
ReutersSpecial situations deserve extraordinary responses
"A more compassionate handling would have smoothened nerves, calmed the child and obviated the need for the extreme step resulting in denied boarding to the passengers", it said.
Special situations deserve extraordinary responses but the airline's 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), it noted.
"In view of this, the competent authority in the DGCA has decided to impose a penalty of Rs 5 lakhs on the airline under the provisions of the relevant Aircraft Rules," it said further.Ranchi airport incident
IndiGo, the country's largest airline had caused massive outrage on social media after a specially-abled boy was denied permission to board the Ranchi-Hyderabad flight as he was "visibly in panic". As the boy was prohibited from boarding, his parents who were accompanying him also decided not to enter the plane.
Indigo Ranchi Incident
Following the outrage on social media, IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta had expressed regret over the unfortunate incident.
Dutta who said that the airline staff had "made the best possible decision under difficult circumstances" also offered to purchase an electric wheelchair for the specially-abled child.IndiGo staff inappropriately handled the situation
The DGCA which took note of the incident had initiated a probe and last week it had said that "prima facie" findings suggested that IndiGo staff inappropriately handled a specially-abled child and his parents at the Ranchi airport on May 7.
"The findings of the committee prima facie indicate inappropriate handling of passengers by the Indigo staff thereby resulting in certain non-conformances with the applicable regulations," it mentioned.
In view of this, it has been decided to issue a show-cause notice to the airline through its authorised representative to explain why suitable enforcement action should not be taken against them for the non-conformances, it said.
"To meet the ends of justice, the airline has been provided an opportunity for a personal hearing as well as for making written submissions in the next ten days from today i.e. till May 26, 2022. After hearing their submissions, appropriate action as per law would be taken," it added.
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