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

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The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday, January 20 imposed a fine of INR 30 lakhs on Tata-owned Air India for violation of rules. The regulator has also suspended the license of the Pilot-In-Command of the flight for 3 months for failing to discharge his duties as per Rule 141 of the Aircraft Rules, 1937, and applicable DGCA Civil Aviation Requirements & INR 3 lakhs fine on Air India’s Director-in-flight services. The staff involved in the matter was earlier taken off the roster.

Air India has submitted its reply to the DGCA in the case where passenger Shankar Mishra urinated on a woman co-passenger onboard a New York-Delhi flight in November last year.

On January 6, DGCA issued Show Cause notices to the Accountable Manager of Air India, the Director of in-flight Services of Air India, 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.

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

For fact-finding, DGCA sought the details of the incident from Air India and based on the reply of the airline, prima facie it emerges that provisions related to the handling of an unruly passenger on board have not been complied with. The conduct of the concerned airline appears to be unprofessional and has led to a systemic failure.

Prima facie it lacks appreciation of regulatory obligations as described in applicable Aircraft Rules 1937, Civil Aviation Requirements on ‘Handling of Unruly Passengers’, Cabin Safety Circular, Air India Operations Manual, Air India Safety and Emergency Procedure Manual and Air India Quick Reference Handbook and is devoid of empathy.

On Thursday, January 19, Air India banned Shankar Mishra from flying for four months in connection with the case. Other airlines are also expected to ban him from flying once the DGCA comes out with its decision on the matter.

Air India
Air India banned Shankar Mishra from flying for four months in connection with the case.

This means he would be banned from all the airlines under the Air India group — Air India, Air India Express, AIX Connect as well as Vistara. It had earlier barred him from flying for 30 days due to the internal committee enquiry.

His lawyer also made some bizarre arguments in the matter, claiming that Kathak dancers have bladder issues. “The complainant woman’s seat was blocked. It wasn’t possible for him (Mishra) to go there. The woman has a problem with incontinence. She urinated on herself. She is a Kathak dancer, 80% of Kathak dancers have this issue,” the lawyer was quoted as saying last week. This also sparked angry reactions from different quarters.

Air India also registered another similar incident on the Paris-Delhi flight last month.

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