The aviation regulator has launched an investigation, and Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has said he was looking into the issue of IndiGo barring a specially-abled teenager from boarding a flight to Hyderabad from the Ranchi airport on May 7, as he was in “a state of panic”.
But IndiGo has backed the “difficult decision” of its crew. Ronojoy Dutta, whole-time director and chief executive officer, called the incident unfortunate but stood by the crew’s call.
“All of us at IndiGo are truly distressed by this particular incident. We offer our sincere regrets to the affected family for the unfortunate experience and, as a small token of our appreciation of their lifelong dedication, would like to offer to purchase an electric wheelchair for their son,” Dutta said in a statement.
“The airport staff, in line with the safety guidelines, were forced to make a difficult decision as to whether the commotion would carry forward aboard the aircraft. Having reviewed all aspects of this incident, we as an organisation are of the view that we made the best possible decision under difficult circumstances,” the statement read.
As per IndiGo, the ground staff waited for him to calm down till the last minute but to no avail. The airline made the family comfortable by providing them with a hotel stay, and they flew the next morning to their destination, IndiGo said.
“We regret the inconvenience caused to the passengers. IndiGo prides itself on being an inclusive organisation, be it for employees or its customers; and over 75,000 specially-abled passengers fly with IndiGo every month,” it said.
Scindia has said he was looking into the case, and appropriate action would be taken. “There is zero tolerance towards such behaviour. No human being should have to go through this! Investigating the matter by myself, post which appropriate action will be taken,” Scindia tweeted.
There is zero tolerance towards such behaviour. No human being should have to go through this! Investigating the matter by myself, post which appropriate action will be taken. https://t.co/GJkeQcQ9iW
— Jyotiraditya M. Scindia (@JM_Scindia) May 9, 2022
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has also started a probe and asked the airline to submit a report, officials said. As the boy was prohibited from boarding the airline’s Ranchi-Hyderabad flight on Saturday, his parents also decided to not take the flight, they noted.
The Consumer Affairs Ministry, meanwhile, told CNBC-TV18 that consumers must be aware of their rights. “They should report violations. Best for consumers to lodge complaints on National Consumer Helpline 1915. Will definitely take action against this,” the ministry said.