Air travellers have voiced concerns over what they call lopsided measures in the no-fly list for unruly passengers and demanded airlines should also be held equally accountable for misbehaviour of their crew. The Ministry of Civil Aviation earlier this month released draft rules on a “national no-fly list” for unruly passengers for all domestic carriers. It proposes a flying-ban for a minimum period of three months and a maximum duration which can extend indefinitely.
The draft has been placed in the public domain for 30 days inviting comments and feedback from stakeholders. The government will come out with final amendments by June 30.
“There have been a lot of feedback and concern from the public that while there are penal actions recommended against unruly passengers, how will misbehaviour on the part of airlines be dealt with,” said a senior ministry official.
The draft was released on May 5 and comments have been invited until June 4. The ministry has so far received 25 responses from various stakeholders.
The official said the government’s intention is to have a balance, but added that those who gave feedback felt the draft rules were “tilted towards airlines”.
The proposed no-fly list will compile data on ‘disruptive’ passengers from all airlines. In case an airline imposes a fly-ban on a passenger, other airlines can independently decide whether to allow him or her.
The government has recommended three levels of unruly behaviours- each entailing a corresponding duration for flying ban.
The first level of misdemeanor, which includes verbal harassment or physical gesture, carries a flying ban of three months. The second level comprises physically abusive behaviour and will carry a ban of six months.
The third category consists of life-threatening behaviour such as damage to aircraft operating system, murderous assault and attempted breach of flight crew compartment and will carry a flying ban of two years or more without limit.
A passenger can challenge the ban before an appeals committee which is to be constituted by the ministry of civil aviation.
The demand for a ‘no-fly’ list was made by several airlines after Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad assaulted an Air India staffer in March.