Airlines are liable to pay compensation of up to Rs10,000 to a passenger who is denied boarding and the carrier is not able to arrange another flight within an hour. However, for any delay beyond 24 hours, a compensation of up to `20,000 has to be paid. These are liable only in cases where the traveller is holding a valid ticket and has presented it on time, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The aviation regulator reiterated the existing rules, even as it fined Air India Rs 10 lakh for not adhering to the norm.
“Our stipulations on the subject are in sync with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and similar regulations are followed globally to accord appropriate respect to passenger rights. Recently, the DGCA had issued strict instructions to all domestic airlines to abide by the said regulation in letter and spirit,” the aviation regulator said in a press note.
Last month, after several complaints of airlines denying boarding to passengers with valid tickets, the DGCA had written to all airlines directing them to strictly comply with the regulations.
“After that a series of checks were carried out by the DGCA and during our surveillance at Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Delhi, there were specific instances, in the case of Air India — where the regulation is not being followed and therefore, a show-cause notice was issued to the airline and also a personal hearing was afforded,” the aviation regulator said.
The DGCA has fined Air India Rs 10 lakh for violating regulatory norms and denying boarding to passengers with valid tickets, terming the matter being “of serious concern and unacceptable”, it said.
“It appears that the airline (Air India) does not have a policy in this regard and is not paying any compensation to hapless passengers, whose numbers can be anybody’s guess,” DGCA said, adding, it has instructed the carrier to put systems in place “immediately”.
In May, the DGCA had stated the airlines are indulging in the “unfair practice” of denying boarding to passengers even when they report for their flights at the airport in time.
The aviation regulator had also asked all Indian carriers to provide compensation and facilities to passengers affected by such denial of boarding, failing which it would impose financial penalties.
According to industry experts, airlines, which generally overbook flights expecting “no shows”, are not able to accommodate all of them in case everyone shows up.