Airlines Can Stop Boarding Of Disabled Passengers Only In This Case: DGCA Issues Strict Guidelines After Ranchi Backlash
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday issued guidelines for airlines on persons with disability/reduced mobility and stated that airline shall not refuse carriage of any person on basis of disability. This comes days after the low-cost carrier IndiGo denied boarding to a specially-abled child at Ranchi airport.
If an airline, however, perceives that the health of such pax may deteriorate in-flight. The said passenger will have to be examined by the doctor.
Inappropriate Handling of the Child
On May 7, the Hyderabad-bound IndiGo flight left behind the child and his parents at the Ranchi airport.
A DGCA panel while citing the event as “inappropriate handling” of passengers has decided to issue a show cause notice to the airline.
The draft rules issues by the DGCA stated that if an airline feels a specially abled passenger’s health is likely to deteriorate during a flight, it must consult a doctor at the airport and take an appropriate call on whether boarding should be denied to the flyer or not.
It mentioned that the passenger will have to be examined by a doctor who shall categorically state the medical condition and whether the passenger is fit to fly or not, if in case the airline perceives that the health of such a passenger may deteriorate in flight. The airline then will take the appropriate call after obtaining the medical opinion.
By July 2, the regulator has also asked the public to send their comments about the draft rules.
Jyotiraditya Scindia, Aviation Minister on May 9 said on Twitter that no human being should have to go through this and he himself was investigating the Ranchi incident.
“Deficient” Behaviour : DGCA
The behaviour of the IndiGo ground staff in the case of handling the child has been called as “deficient” and it “exacerbated the situation” said DGCA.
DGCA in note said that “A more compassionate handling would have smoothened nerves, and calmed the child. It would have obviated the need for the extreme step resulting in denied boarding to the passengers”.