Ravindra Gaikwad free to fly as airlines lift ban

No sooner had the FIA lifted the ban on the Sena MP, than two other private carriers — Vistara and AirAsia India — said they “support” the decision taken by the industry

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: April 9, 2017 1:25:06 am
Ravindra Gaikwad, Federation of Indian Airlines, FIA, Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, Jet Airways, SpiceJet, GoAir, IndiGo, Air India, Indian Express, Indian Express News Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad (Express Photo)

The Federation of Indian Airlines, comprising Jet Airways, SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo, Saturday revoked the flying ban imposed on Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, a day after Air India removed restrictions on the Lok Sabha member from Osmanabad.

In a statement, FIA said its members are restoring the flying privileges to Gaikwad “under the assurance that our assets and colleagues shall be accorded the respect that they deserve for the hard work that they put in every day”.

The FIA said that the decision has been taken consequent to Air India restoring flying privileges to Gaikwad after being satisfied with the statement given by him where he expressed “regret” for assaulting an Air India employee.

No sooner had the FIA lifted the ban on the Sena MP, than two other private carriers — Vistara and AirAsia India — said they “support” the decision taken by the industry. Vistara and AirAsia India are not part of the FIA.

Air India on Friday afternoon lifted the flight ban on Gaikwad following orders from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, which advised the state-owned carrier and other private airlines to revoke the ban “in view of the apology tendered and undertaking of good conduct in future” by the MP.

Air India had barred Gaikwad from flying after the March 23 incident when the MP admitted to having assaulted an airline employee. The carrier had filed two FIRs at the IGI Airport police station, one for assault and one for forcible occupation of aircraft.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Ministry on Saturday warned that unruly air passengers will face “severe consequences”, including police action.

In a series of tweets, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said: “Air travellers should note that safety and security for passengers and crew are our paramount priority. Unruly and disruptive behaviour will result in severe consequences. This includes police action for a specific incident as well as being placed on a no-fly list.”

Sinha said the ministry is strengthening rules so that a national no-fly list can be implemented so that such incidents can be prevented and safety improved.

About the incident involving the Sena member, the minister said Gaikwad had apologised and provided an undertaking that such incidents would not reoccur. “Therefore AI (Air India) has been advised to revoke his ban… Police investigations regarding Gaikwad’s conduct during the March 23 incident are under way and the law will take its own course,” Sinha said.

In response to certain tweets related to Gaikwad incident, Sinha said police FIRs have been filed and justice will surely be delivered.

He noted that a case has been registered against Gaikwad, including under sections 308 (culpable homicide) and 355 (assault). “A flying ban is meant to prevent future unruly behaviour, not to punish past behaviour. We now have an undertaking for future behaviour,” he said.

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