The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has fined Tata Group-owned airline Air India Rs 10 lakh for violating the regulator’s norms pertaining to denying boarding to passengers holding valid tickets. The aviation safety regulator has said that the matter is “of serious concern and unacceptable”.
“After a series of checks were carried out by DGCA and during our surveillance at Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Delhi, there were specific instances, in the case of Air India – where the regulation is not being followed and therefore, a show cause notice was issued to the airline and also a personal hearing was afforded,” the regulator said in a press note.
It added that the airline “does not have a policy in this regard and is not paying any compensation to hapless passengers, whose numbers can be anybody’s guess”.
“To say the least, it is a matter of serious concern and unacceptable. In the specific cases detailed in the show cause notice, after going through Air India’s submissions, as part of enforcement action, the competent authority has levied a penalty of Rs 10 lakhs,” the DGCA said, adding that airline has been advised to immediately put the systems in place to resolve the issue – failing which the aviation safety regulator will take further action.
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As per the existing rules, in case a passenger with a valid ticket is denied boarding, the airline must provide an alternate arrangement or a compensation. In case the airline is able to arrange an alternate flight for the said passenger within an hour, no compensation is to be paid. However, if the airline is able to provide the alternate arrangement within next 24 hours, a compensation up to Rs 10,000 is prescribed in the norms. For anything beyond 24 hours, a compensation up to Rs 20,000 is laid down.
Last month, following several cases of airlines denying boarding to passengers, the DGCA had written to all airlines directing them to strictly comply with the regulations. In its letter, it had warned the airlines that any non-compliance would warrant strict action against the erring airline, including imposing financial penalties.