Air India Peegate: DGCA fines airline Rs 30 lakh; suspends pilot’s license for 3 months

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday slapped a fine of Rs 30 lakh on Air India for the drunk-urination incident onboard its flight from New York to Delhi in which the airline violated its norms on handling unruly passenger behavior onboard flights. The pilot-in-command’s license has been suspended for a period of three months.

An inebriated passenger Shankar Mishra had allegedly urinated on an elderly woman passenger seated in business class. After the flight landed, the passenger walked away scot-free.

The pilots didn’t inform the security personnel on ground, nor did the crew file a police complaint. The airline didn’t inform DGCA about the incident.

“The incident of passenger misbehavior which occurred on AI-102 flight of November 26, 2022, from New York to New Delhi, came to the notice of DGCA on January 4, 2023, wherein a male passenger conducted himself in a disorderly manner and allegedly relieved himself on a female passenger. DGCA issued show cause notices to the accountable manager of Air India; director in-flight services of AI, all the pilots and cabin crew members of that flight as to why enforcement action should not be taken against them for dereliction of their regulatory obligations. The written reply of Air India and the personnel involved were examined,” DGCA said in a statement on Friday.

“Accordingly, the following enforcement actions have been taken in the instant case: financial penalty of Rs 30 lakh has been imposed to Air India for violation of applicable DGCA Civil Aviation Requirements. License Suspension of Pilot-In-Command of the said flight for a period of three months (03 months) for failing to discharge his duties as per Rule 141 of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 and applicable DGCA Civil Aviation Requirements. Financial Penalty of Rs. 3 lakh has been imposed on Director-in-flight services of Air India for failing to discharge her duties as per applicable DGCA Civil Aviation Requirements,” it added.

On Thursday, Air India banned the unruly passenger, Shankar Mishra from boarding its flights for a period of four months.

“The passenger (Mishra) has already been put on the airline’s “No Fly List”. Air India has shared a copy of the Internal Committee report with the director general of civil aviation and will also be intimating other airlines operating in the country,” said an Air India spokesperson.

Mishra, who was arrested by the Delhi police from Bengaluru on January 6, is currently in judicial custody.

Air India began an internal investigation after the woman passenger sent a complaint to the airline on November 27.

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