BENGALURU: Just four days ago, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had presented statistics in the Lok Sabha to show that the incidence misbehaviour of airlines’ staff with passengers decreased over the years. In an irony of sorts, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Monday suspended the licence of an IndiGo pilot for three months for “intimidating and threatening” two women passengers for requesting a wheelchair at Bengaluru airport.
Former journalist Supriya Unni and her mother, a 75-year-old diabetic patient, had a nightmarish experience at the hands of Captain Jayakrishna at the airport on January 13 when they requested a wheelchair pre-booked with their ticket for their Chennai-Bengaluru flight. Unni told TNIE that the captain pilot was rude to them, humiliated them and threatened to detain and send them to jail.The DGCA said in a statement it issued a show cause notice to the PIC (Pilot in Command).
It said, “It has been established that the PIC’s attitude toward the wheelchair-bound senior citizen passenger was intimidating, threatening and lacking in compassion. His actions led to avoidable detention of the wheelchair-bound passenger.”
Without naming the pilot, the statement added, “he exhibited lack of ability in managing threat and error situation, especially when he was to operate another commercial flight after a short duration. DGCA has suspended the licence held by the PIC for a period of three months.”
Investigations have revealed that the PIC misused his authority by saying the wheelchair-bound passenger and her attendant would be handed over to CISF and a police case would be registered against them for unruly behaviour, the DGCA said. It added that he had exhibited aggression toward women passengers in his dealings as well as demanded an apology letter from them which delayed their deboarding by an hour and 15 minutes.
Puri had on Thursday (Feb 6) stated that the number of complaints of misbehaviour by airline crew dropped from 903 in 2015 to 349 in 2019.