The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Monday suspended a captain with IndiGo airlines for three months for “intimidating and threatening” a wheelchair-bound senior citizen on a Chennai-Bengaluru flight last month, news agency PTI reported.
It was found during investigation that the pilot-in-command “insisted” the passengers — the senior citizen and her daughter— on tendering an apology. The duo were detained for about 75 minutes after the deboarding began at Bengaluru airport, the probe revealed. Independent journalist Supriya Unni Nair, who had asked for a wheelchair for her 75-year-old mother on landing at Bengaluru airport on January 13 night, had alleged that the pilot had misbehaved and threatened them.
“It was established that the pilot-in-command’s attitude towards the wheelchair-bound senior citizen passenger was intimidating, threatening and lacked compassion. The DGCA has suspended his licence for a period of three months,” PTI quoted the official as saying.
“The pilot exhibited aggression towards the lady passengers in his dealings while disregarding the fact that the elderly passenger required wheelchair assistance… The investigation found that the captain’s actions led to “avoidable detention” of a wheelchair-bound passenger,” the official added.
Taking to Twitter, Nair had said that on landing at Bengaluru airport when she asked for a wheelchair for her mother, the cabin crew denied having access to wheelchair assistance. Seeing the commotion on this issue, the pilot-in-command intervened. He then misbehaved and threatened Nair and her mother with jail, Nair wrote. She also claimed that her mother was diabetic.
“Your captain on 6E 806 from Chennai to Bangalore on January 13 Jayakrishna harassed, threatened and prevented me and my 75-year old diabetic mom from disembarking the flight and threatened to arrest us because we asked for wheelchair assistance,” Supriya wrote on Twitter. She also claimed that none of the cabin crew on board the flight came to their help.
Reacting to her tweet, Union Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that the pilot has been “off-rostered” pending a full inquiry by the airline. “I requested my office to contact @IndiGo6E as soon as I saw the tweet by Ms @SupriyaUnniNair about the pilot’s behaviour with her & her 75 year old mother in need of wheelchair assistance. The airline has informed @MoCA_GoI that the pilot has been off-rostered pending full inquiry,” he tweeted. Following this, IndiGo had assured action against him.
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