Hours after Jet Airways grounded five airhostesses for allowing playback artiste Sonu Nigam to take over the in-flight announcement system and sing songs during a flight from Jodhpur to Mumbai on January 4, the latter called it an ‘act of intolerance.’
“All cabin crew on the flight have been taken off flight duty for inquiry and corrective training to reinforce strict adherence to operating procedures,” Jet Airways said in a statement Thursday.
According to reports, it was a chartered flight and all passengers on board knew each other. They had in fact requested Nigam to sing. The singer obliged and sang two songs – Do pal ruka from Yash Raj Films’ Veer Zaara and Panchhi nadiya from Refugee, the film that launched Abhishek Bachchan.
When the passengers started singing with Nigam, he said: “Arrey wah, aap bhi gaatein hain. My God, saare singer hain (Wow, you all can sing too. Everyone’s a singer here).” Videos of the singer crooning in air had gone viral.
In a statement, Nigam Friday said, “I have witnessed an elaborate fashion show in an aircraft. I have heard of small concerts happening in aircraft. I have seen pilots and crew members cracking jokes to loosen up passengers in other countries, which is so cool. To suspend crew members for asking me to sing on the address system, when the seat belt signs were off, and no announcements were to be made, is nothing less than punishing someone for spreading happiness.”
“Pity there’s no one to question such harshness except the media perhaps. Indians, need to loosen up. This act of lack of common sense, according to me, is real intolerance,” he added.
The DGCA has summoned Jet Aitways officials on February 10 over the issue.
As per approved procedures, Public Address (PA)system of a flight is required to be used only under certain conditions, a senior DGCA official said, adding in this case, “the system was used for song which is violation of procedures.”
“Besides, the forward galley was unattended and there were number of passengers standing in aisle area,” the official said, adding, “since the aircraft was descending, (standing) passengers could have been hurt in case of a weather turbulence.”
The official also pointed out that both the commander and his deputy were also not informed of the activity inside the cabin and the “act of cabin crew was not as per requirements.”
As per a Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) on training and licensing of cabin crew, issued by DGCA in 2010, “the system is for relaying safety information. “It is not meant to sing songs and such violations cannot be tolerated by DGCA,” the official said.