Cracking the whip: 15 domestic passengers may be put on no fly list for 3 months for not wearing masks


2021-03-24 15:06:52

NEW DELHI: Three Indian carriers have started the process of putting 15 domestic travellers on no fly list.
These flyers are likely to be barred from flying for three months, under the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) unruly flyer norms. Thirteen of these passengers were handed over to security agencies for refusing to follow Covid norms.
“Airlines have informed us that all of the 15 have been deemed unruly and face bar on flying for upto three months. Those who have been handed over to police will additionally face action under other sections for intimidating or misbehaving with crew also, apart from the flying ban. Every agency is keeping a close watch and action will follow against other flyers also if they do not follow pandemic-time travel rules which are for their own safety only,” said a senior official of the DGCA, which has adopted a strict “zero tolerance” policy for non-compliance of Covid protocol at airports and during flying.
Under unruly flyer norms, the airline on whose flight disruptive behaviour took place can put a person on no fly list for certain time as per the gravity of his or her safety violation after following a due process.
During this period this person cannot fly that airline. Other carriers are free to bar that unruly person from flying on them too for the same period.
So far, whenever Indian airlines have taken such action against someone and deemed them unruly, they all have collectively barred the person from flying for some time.
Of these 15 passengers, three were offloaded before take off for refusing to wear PPE gown as required on their middle seats or masks. The other 12 were handed over to police on landing at the destination.
So far, IndiGo has initiated action against 9 passengers (1 offloaded and others handed over to cops on arrival) from as many flights; Alliance Air against four flyers from one flight and AirAsia India against two passengers (both offloaded before departure) from one flight. These violations were reported between March 15 and 23.
The DGCA had directed airlines, airport managements and security agencies to have zero tolerance for Covid norm violations after Delhi high court Justice C Hari Shankar observed an “alarming situation” while flying from Kolkata to Delhi on March 5.
Taking suo motu cognisance, the court had passed a landmark order on March 8 to agencies for ensuring strict compliance of Covid norms by flyers.
The aviation regulator then ordered security agencies not to allow airport entry to passengers not wearing masks; asked airlines to deboard passengers who refuse to wear masks properly before take off and begin action under unruly flyer rules for those do not wear a mask properly inflight.
Satisfied by these steps, the court later decided to close this suo motu case while observing that initiation of punitive action against the violators is a welcome step.
Last October, IndiGo had barred nine electronic media personnel from flying for a fortnight after they violated Covid norms like not maintaining social distancing and not wearing masks while covering actress Kangana Ranaut’s journey from Chandigarh to Mumbai last September.



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