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Unruly fliers could even face lifetime ban

08 September 2017

Unruly air travellers will be banned from flying for periods ranging from three months to lifetime, depending on the gravity of their offence, the government announced today.

The ministry of civil aviation has recommended three different periods of air travel ban depending on the nature of unruly behavior by passengers, in a bid to tackle on-board disruptive and unruly behaviour.

Briefing the media in New Delhi today, civil aviation minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the new rules will allow for the formation of a national, `No Fly List' of such unruly passengers, the first-of-its-kind in the world.

Emphasising the government's commitment for ensuring safety, Raju said that the concept of the No-Fly List is based on the concern for safety of passengers, crew and the aircraft, and not just on security threat.

The DGCA has revised the relevant sections of the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) on  handling of unruly passengers to bring in a deterrent for passengers who engage in unruly behaviour on board aircraft. The revision has been done in accordance with the provisions of Tokyo Convention 1963, the ministry stated.

The revised CAR deals with unruly behavior of passenger on-board aircrafts. The revised CAR will be applicable for all Indian operators engaged in scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, both domestic and international carriage of passengers. The CAR would also be applicable to foreign carriers subject to compliance of Tokyo Convention 1963.

Unruly behavior of passengers at airport premises will be dealt with by relevant security agencies under applicable penal provisions.

Speaking on the occasion, minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha said the new rules have been promulgated after a lot of deliberation and consultation with all stakeholders. The focus has been on ensuring on board safety while maintaining an element of balance and safeguarding the interest of passengers, cabin crew and the airlines.

The revised CAR defines three categories of unruly behavior :

  • Level 1 refers to behaviour that is verbally unruly, and calls for debarment up to 3 months;
  • Level 2 indicates physical unruliness and can lead to the passenger being debarred from flying for up to 6 months; and
  • Level 3 indicates life-threatening behaviour where the debarment would be for a minimum of 2 years.

The complaint of unruly behavior would need to be filed by the pilot-in-command. These complaints will be probed by an internal committee to be set up by the airline. The internal committee will have retired district and sessions judge as chairman and representatives from a different scheduled airlines, passenger associations/consumer associations and retired official of Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum as members.

As per the CAR provisions, the internal committee will have to decide the matter within 30 days, and also specify the duration of ban on the unruly passenger. During the period of pendency of the enquiry the concerned airline may impose a ban on the said passenger. For every subsequent offence, the ban will be twice the period of previous ban.

The airlines will be required to share the No-Fly list, and the same will be available on DGCA website. The other airlines will not be bound by the No-Fly list of an airline. The No Fly Lists will have two components - unruly passengers banned for a certain period based on examination of the case by the internal committee; and those persons perceived to be national security risk by the ministry of home affairs. The latter component will, however, not be displayed on the DGCA website.

The revised CAR also contains appeal provisions against the ban. Aggrieved persons (other than those identified as security threat by MHA) may appeal within 60 days from the date of issue of order to the Appellate Committee constituted by MoCA comprising of retired Judge of a high court of India as chairman and representatives of passengers association/consumer association/retired officer of Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum and airlines as members.

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