Air India pilots’ body considering legal action over pilot suspension

Air India pilots’ body IPG is considering legal recourse and other options, regarding aviation regulator DGCA suspending the licence of the pilot-in-command of the flight where a passenger allegedly urinated on a female co-passenger on board last November. A senior member of the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), which represents the airline’s pilots who fly wide-body planes, said it will take up the issue of suspension of the pilot concerned strongly.

ALSO READ – DGCA fines Air India INR 30 lakh in urination case, pilot suspended for 3 months

The urination incident happened onboard the New York-Delhi flight on November 26, 2022, and it came to the notice of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) only on January 4. For various violations, DGCA, on Friday, January 20, imposed a fine of INR 30 lakh on Air India, an INR 3 lakh penalty on the airline’s director of in-flight services and suspended the licence of the pilot-in-command for three months.

Air India pilots’ body considering legal action over pilot suspension

“We are considering all options, including taking legal action for the pilot’s licence suspension. We are talking to our lawyers on the issue and will soon take a call,” the IPG member told PTI on the condition of anonymity. The member claimed that the pilot concerned had acted very maturely. “It has all been reported to the company at that time. If after all of this, you still think that the pilot has not acted, then we need to understand what you are talking about and why you find him at fault.”

The member also alleged that there is a lot of “pressure to find a scapegoat in the entire case. There was no immediate comment from Air India. According to reports, Air India’s senior management was informed about the urination incident hours after the flight landed on November 26.

The incident of passenger misbehaviour occurred on the AI-102 flight from New York to Delhi on November 26 last year, wherein a male passenger conducted himself in a disorderly manner and allegedly relieved himself on a female passenger, according to DGCA.

ALSO READ – Air India passenger incident: What? How? When?

Air India
The urination incident happened onboard the New York-Delhi flight on November 26, 2022, and it came to the notice of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) only on January 4.

Emails accessed by news agency ANI indicate that the Air India cabin crew supervisor had sent out emails on November 27 at around 1 pm to the head of the Inflight Service Department and other relevant officials. The mail containing the ‘summary’ of the incident was also acknowledged with a reply of “Ok, Noted,” at 3.47 hours.

The top management at Air India had previously claimed that they were not informed about the incident after the flight landed, which led to the accused Shankar Mishra walking away without any apprehension or action against him.

The watchdog had issued show cause notices to Air India’s Accountable Manager, Director of in-flight services, and 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. DGCA examined the written replies of Air India and the personnel involved and decided on the enforcement actions.

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