DGCA serves notice to IndiGo over ruckus on Kangana's flight
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has served a notice to IndiGo in connection to the chaos on its September 9 flight, which had Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut as a passenger. Tossing social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic, dozens of media persons shoved mics at the actor, who was en route Mumbai. After videos of the day surfaced, DGCA sought answers.
Kangana boarded the 6E-264 flight from Chandigarh, after leaving her home in Himachal Pradesh, where she stayed for a few months. Her arrival in Mumbai amid a tense war-of-words with the ruling Shiv Sena dominated national headlines on Wednesday. Evidently, in a bid to report "inside details," media persons flocked the flight, kept filming the sequence of events, obviously causing discomfort to fellow passengers.
In videos that turned up online, journalists from channels like Republic, Times Now, News24, and India Today/Aaj Tak, were seen bombarding Kangana with questions. She purportedly didn't respond. When the flight landed, the reporters rushed to the exit gates, defying Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that the Aviation Ministry announced when domestic operations resumed after being shut for at least two months.
A DGCA official said, "We have seen some videos wherein media persons are standing too close to each other in 6E-264 flight on Wednesday. It seems to be a violation of safety and social distancing protocols. We have asked IndiGo to submit a report on this incident."
Meanwhile, IndiGo also released a statement on the episode saying its crew followed all protocols. "Our cabin crew, as well as the captain followed all the requisite protocols, including announcements to restrict photography, follow social distancing and maintain overall safety," the largest private airline in India said. IndiGo also said it was committed to providing a "safe, hassle-free experience to our passengers."
This incident brought back into discussion an episode from January when comedian Kunal Kamra heckled journalist Arnab Goswami on an IndiGo flight. As Goswami remained seated, Kamra asked him questions about his "brand of journalism," and was banned for six months for disregarding the protocols. Later, AirIndia and SpiceJet also took similar actions. In fact, Kamra's plea against this overreaction was junked by Delhi High Court.
In fact, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri also supported the ban on Kamra by saying, "Offensive behavior designed to provoke & create disturbance inside an aircraft is absolutely unacceptable & endangers the safety of air travelers. (sic)" Reminding Puri of his earlier stance, Congress' Pawan Khera told the Union Minister that he was waiting to see what action he initiates this time.
Offensive behaviour designed to provoke create disturbance inside an aircraft is absolutely unacceptable endangers safety of air travellers.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) January 28, 2020
We are left with no option but to advise other airlines to impose similar restrictions on the person concerned. https://t.co/UHKKZfdTVS