In a bid to tackle increasing incidents of misbehaviour by passengers on flights, the Civil Aviation Ministry on Friday directed airlines to create a 'No Fly' list, which would entail ban on erring fliers ranging from three months to two years.
"India is the first country to put out such a list. The 'No Fly' list will ensure safety and check (flight) disruptions. It will safeguard the interests of passengers, airlines, and cabin crew," Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told reporters here.
For every subsequent offence by a passenger, the ban will be for twice the period of the previous ban. However, "an airline would not be bound by the 'No Fly' list of another airline" he said.
"Safety is my top concern. Today, we have set in place mechanisms which are a step forward in our constant endeavour to keep our skies safe and vibrant," Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju told IANS.
The list will categorise unruly behaviour into three categories: Level 1 -- unruly behaviour (verbal); Level 2 -- physical behaviour; and Level 3 -- life-threatening behaviour.
On June 15, Telugu Desam Party MP J.C. Diwakar Reddy createda ruckus at the Visakhapatnam airport after he was denied a boarding pass for an IndiGo flight as he had showed up late. The lawmaker from Anantapur was said to have damaged a printer and misbehaved with IndiGo airline staff.
In March, Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad was accused of assaulting an Air India staffer, following which several airlines banned him from flying on their planes till he apologised.
Releasing the guidelines, the Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statment: "Such unruly behaviour will be probed through an internal committee set up by the airline under the chairmanship of a retired District and Sessions Judge as Chairman and members from different scheduled airlines and passenger/consumer associations and retired officers of Consumer Dispute Redressal Forums."
The internal committee will have to decide the matter within 30 days along with the duration of ban on an unruly passenger. During this period, the airline concerned may impose a ban on the passenger.
The 'No Fly' list of such unruly passengers will be provided by the airline concerned and be made available on the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) website.
"No Fly list will have two components -- unruly passengers banned for three months to more than two years based on level of unruly behaviour; and those persons perceived to be national security risk by the Ministry of Home Affairs," it said.
The guidelines will be applicable to all Indian operators engaged in scheduled and non-scheduled air passenger transport services, both domestic and international. These would also be applicable to foreign carriers subject to compliance with the Tokyo Convention of 1963.
"Passenger's unruly behavior at airport premises will be dealt with by relevant security agencies under applicable penal provisions," it said.
The guidelines also contain a provision for appeal against the ban.
"Aggrieved persons, other than persons identified as security threat by the Ministry of Home Affairs, can appeal within 60 days from the date of issuance of order to the Appellate Committee constituted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation comprising a retired judge of a High Court as Chairman and members from passenger/consumer associations/ retired officers of consumer dispute redressal forums and the airlines," the statement said.
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