Unruly air travellers will be banned from flying for a period ranging from three months to life, the civil aviation ministry government on Friday. Listing the misdemeanours for which there can be a ban on flying, the ministry has recommended three levels of unruly behaviour by passengers, each with a different duration of ban on flying. The first level of misdemeanour is verbal harassment and would invite a ban of three months. The second level comprises physically-abusive behaviour, which will carry a ban of six months, while the third category consists of life-threatening behaviour and will carry a flying ban of two years or more without limit.
According to civil aviation secretary RN Choubey, if the unruly behaviour is of a very gross nature then the ban may be extended for life as well. The move comes in the wake of some incidents, including one involving Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who allegedly hit an Air India staffer with a slipper for not getting a business class seat.
The ministry said that an internal committee needs to be set up by the airline concerned and the committee should be headed by a retired district and sessions judge and should have one representation from a different scheduled airline and passenger or consumer associations. A retired officer of a consumer redressal forum can also become a member. “We took suggestions from all the stakeholders and have also taken into consideration the Tokyo Convention. The opinion of regulators of other countries were also taken before deciding on the final list,” said Union civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju.
The committee should be able to take a decision on the matter and pronounce the quantum of the ban on a particular passenger within 30 days after the complaint has been registered. During the period, the airlines may restrict the passenger from flying for a maximum period of 30 days.
The no-flying list will be provided by the the airline and will be maintained by the DGCA. Once a passenger is found guilty, other airlines can also ban the individual from from flying during that period.
The quantum of ban on a passenger will be doubled in case the same individual turns out to be a repeated offender.
Once included in the no-flying list, the aggrieved person will have to appeal within 60 days from the date of issue of the order to the appellate committee constituted by the civil aviation ministry. A retired judge should head the committee.