Tata Group-promoted Air India has derostered and issued show-cause notice to four cabin crew and one pilot who were on duty on the November 26 New York-Delhi flight on which an inebriated passenger urinated over a fellow female passenger. In a press statement, Air India CEO and managing director Campbell Wilson expressed regret over the incident and admitted that the airline could have handled the matter better, both in the air and on ground.
Meanwhile, accused 35-year-old Shankar Mishra, who was sacked on Friday by his employer Wells Fargo, was remanded in 14-day judicial custody by a Delhi court after he was arrested by the Delhi police on Friday from Bengaluru. The court will hear his bail plea on January 11.
Also read: ‘Are you the Mahant of Ram Mandir?’: Mallikarjun Kharge slams Amit Shah for announcing Ram Temple opening date
Also, three Air India crew members on Saturday joined the investigation in connection with the case, officials said.
A senior police officer said nine crew members were called, of whom three recorded their statements on Saturday morning.
The Air India staff did not bring this incident to the notice of the police or the CISF immediately. The company’s management was apprised of the matter only when the victim wrote a letter to the Tata Group. Air India, however, lodged a police complaint on December 28, two days after it was asked to do so by the victim.
Air India has launched an internal investigation into whether there were lapses by other staff on aspects such as the service of alcohol on flight, incident handling, complaint registration on board and grievance handling. “Air India is deeply concerned about the in-flight instances where customers have suffered due to the condemnable acts of their co-passengers on our aircraft. We regret and are pained about these experiences,” Campbell said in the statement.
Air India claimed to have initiated steps to strengthen and improve how such incidents would be addressed in future. The airline will review serving of alcohol on flights, deploy iPads to pilots and senior cabin crew to report incidents electronically and review the meeting frequency of the DGCA-prescribed ‘internal committee’ tasked with assessing incidents. The internal committee comprises a retired judge, a representative from a passengers’ association and a representative from another Indian commercial airline. Once these incidents are recorded electronically, they will be rapidly and automatically routed to relevant parties, including, as required, the regulator.
Also read: Supreme Court puts HC order staying Assam-Meghalaya border pact on hold
The airline also claimed to start a comprehensive education programme to strengthen crews’ awareness of and compliance with policies on the handling of incidents and unruly passengers, and to better equip crew to empathetically assist those affected.