DGCA suspends IndiGo captain for misbehaving with wheelchair bound senior citizen

NEW DELHI: The aviation regulator on Monday suspended an IndiGo captain’s flying licence for three months after its probe found that the pilot had behaved aggressively with a wheelchair-bound senior citizen and her daughter on a Chennai-Bengaluru flight last month.

The daughter had complained on social media on January 14, a day after her harrowing experience, following which Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) chief Arun Kumar had ordered a probe into the issue and the senior pilot was grounded.

The altercation had happened when during deplaning in Bengaluru, a lady passenger asked the lead cabin crew for an early wheelchair assistance for her 75-year-old mother. The pilot-in-command (PIC) intervened at this point, leading to an altercation.

The regulator’s probe into the behaviour of January 13’s 6E-806 PIC has found that he had “misused his authority in intimidating and threatening the wheelchair-bound passenger and her attendant by saying that they will be handed over to CISF and a police case will be registered against them for unruly behaviour.”

The PIC, says the probe report, “further directed IndiGo security staff to detain both the lady passengers from deplaning. The PIC exhibited aggression… (He) also insisted on an apology letter from the(two), which further delayed the matter and the passengers were detained for about 75 minutes after the start of de-boarding process of the flight.”

“The airline has informed the aviation ministry that the pilot has been off-rostered (meaning will not be assigned flights) pending full inquiry,” Puri had Tweeted on January 14.

The DGCA ordered a probe and issued a show cause notice to the PIC. “After examining the reply of the PIC to the show cause notice, it was established that (his) attitude towards the wheelchair-bound senior citizen passenger was intimidating, threatening and lacked compassion. His actions led to avoidable detention of wheelchair bound passenger. He exhibited lack of ability in managing threat and error situation especially when he was to operate another commercial flight after a short duration, DGCA has suspended the license held by the PIC for a period of three months,” said a senior DGCA official.

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