DGCA imposes a fine of Rs 30 lakh on Air India over lack of wheelchair after 80-yr-old dies

Aie India. Image Credit: David Gladson via Unsplash


IBNS-CMEDIA: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday slapped a penalty of Rs 30 lakh on Air India for “not having an adequate number of wheelchairs” at Mumbai airport which led to the death of an elderly passenger earlier this month, media reported.

“A financial penalty of Rs 30 lakh has been imposed on Air India as per Aircraft Rules, 1937 for violating the provisions of the aforementioned CAR [civil aviation requirements],” a statement issued by the DGCA read.

“An advisory has also been issued to all airlines to ensure that an adequate number of wheelchairs are available for passengers who require assistance during embarking or disembarking from the aircraft during their journey,” it added.

The DGCA had then issued a show cause notice to Air India for not complying with the provisions of the CAR SECTION 3, SERIES ‘M’, PART I on “Carriage by Air – Persons with Disability (Divyangjan) and/or Persons with Reduced Mobility” which is a violation of Aircraft Rules, 1937.

The airline, DGCA said, submitted its response on February 20 informing that the elderly passenger wished to walk along with his wife who was in a wheelchair too, rather than wait for another wheelchair.

“However, the airline failed to show compliance with the CAR as the airline did not provide any wheelchair to the elderly passenger,” the regulator said.

The aviation authority has additionally provided guidance to all airlines, requesting them to ensure there are sufficient wheelchairs accessible for passengers at airports.

On February 12, an elderly passenger aged 80, who had travelled on an Air India flight from New York accompanied by his wife, passed away at Mumbai airport after collapsing. He reportedly suffered a heart attack while walking 1.5 km due to the alleged unavailability of a wheelchair.

“The airline also failed to submit any corrective actions taken to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future,” the regulator stated.