Union Civil Aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Wednesday confirmed that the passenger who “accidentally” opened the emergency exit of an IndiGo flight in December was indeed BJP leader and Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya. The minister, speaking to reporters on Wednesday, however, said that Surya himself reported the issue to the crew and also apologised for causing the delay.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, IndiGo airline said that on December 10, a passenger travelling on flight 6E 7339 from Chennai to Tiruchirapalli “accidentally” opened the emergency exit door during the boarding process. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation said it had launched a probe into the matter. Reports said that the plane was subjected to routine checks and could only take off after all clearances were given, resulting in a delay of around two hours.
“It’s important to look at the facts. The door was opened by him by mistake when the flight was on the ground and after all checks, the flight was allowed to take off. He also apologised for the mistake,” Scindia said.
“When incident happened Tejasvi Surya himself reported it to pilot and crew. Full protocol was followed as DGCA has investigated. Only after all checks the aircraft took off. He (Surya) himself apologised for delay caused due to the incident,” the minister added.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, IndiGo confirmed the incident but did not reveal the name of the passenger involved. “The passenger immediately apologised for the action. As per SOP (Standard Operating Procedure), the incident was logged and the aircraft underwent mandatory engineering checks, which led to a delay in the flight’s departure,” the statement read.
“The crew took note and resultantly, all appropriate airworthiness action such as reinstalling of door, pressurization check were carried out before the release of the aircraft for departure. No safety was compromised,” a DGCA official told PTI.
Opposition parties, meanwhile, have cornered the BJP over the leader being let off with a simple apology.
“Tejasvi Surya is an example of what will happen if children playing games are given the proprietorship. An act of children’s mischief by trying to open the emergency exit door of the plane has come to light. Why prank with the lives of passengers?” the Karnataka Congress said.
“Shouldn’t one take suo moto cognisance of this incident? What if this happened once the aircraft had taken off rather than when it was taxiing on the runway, should an apology suffice?” asked Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi.
“Well if you have a “Sanskari” name it is accidental, if the name is Abdul then Sky is the limit ……. Please always keep your seats belts on,” said AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi.
“For a safe take-off and landing, always fly with Congress,” said Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar.