Air India cancels two tickets of Ravindra Gaikwad, govt mulls no-fliers list and other options

New Delhi: The government is looking at the possibility of having a “no-fliers list” and other options to deal with unruly passengers, amid airlines barring a Shiv Sena MP from flights for assaulting an Air India staffer.

Air India today cancelled two tickets booked by Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad on Delhi-bound flights. While a final decision is not yet taken on ways to further strengthen the norms to tackle unruly passengers, a senior government official today said various possibilities are being looked at. The possibility of having a “no-fliers list” is also being looked into, the official at the Civil Aviation Ministry said.

“Nothing has been finalised and nothing has been ruled out,” the official noted.

About the issue of the MP being continued to be barred from flying, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju did not elaborate much but said, “It can’t be safety versus services. Safety and services have to go together”.

Civil Aviation Secretary RN Choubey said he can’t immediately comment on no-fliers list. “All I am saying is that by whatever name, we are certainly going to bring about clarity. That will be necessary,” he said.

He was responding to a query on whether the government would be coming out with norms for no-fliers list or provide more clarity on existing rules. “We are working on clarity. What shape it will take and in what exact manner, we will see…,” he said.

When asked for how long can airlines bar Gaikwad from flying, the ministry official quoted earlier said the decision has to be taken by the respective airlines. There is a talk that airlines might look at an “unconditional apology” from the MP but there has been no official communication from any airline so far, the official said. The ministry is working towards making some changes in the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) on ‘Handling of unruly/ disruptive passengers’, which was issued back in November 2014.

Even though there is no particular mention of regulatory provisions to bar an unruly passenger from boarding an aircraft, the 2014 CAR mentions that “every reasonable effort to protect passengers and personnel against any offence by unruly and disruptive passengers shall be made”. Meanwhile, when asked about Air India today again cancelling the tickets booked by Gaikwad, Raju as well as Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani declined to comment. Following Gaikwad assaulting a 62-year-old Air India staffer at the Delhi airport last week, the national carrier as well as six other domestic airlines barred him from taking any of their flights.