Government seeks report from IndiGo over passenger manhandling

New Delhi, (IANS) Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha on Tuesday said that a detailed report has been sought from budget carrier IndiGo regarding the incident at Delhi airport last month, when a passenger was manhandled by the airline’s staff.

The incident which took place on October 15 surfaced on Tuesday after a video showed passenger — Rajiv Katiyal — being manhandled by the airline’s staff after a verbal altercation.

Katiyal, who arrived from Chennai, was waiting for the bus inside the airport when the incident happened. Its not clear exactly who started the verbal altercation.

“IndiGo passenger incident from October 15 is deplorable and unfortunate. Passenger safety and security is our top-most priority,” Sinha said in a series of tweets.

“MoCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation) has already asked for a detailed report from Indigo by tomorrow… Indigo senior executives have personally apologised to the passenger.”

“We hope that the passenger will file a criminal complaint. This will enable us to take appropriate action.”

On its part IndiGo airline’s President and Whole Time Director Aditya Ghosh said: “I acknowledge the unpleasant experience our passenger went through, while engaging with our staff at Delhi airport. My personal apologies as this does not reflect our culture.”

“I had personally spoken to the passenger and asked for an apology… Under the code of conduct violation, this incident was investigated and stern action was taken against the staff.”

Referring to the incident, Deputy Commissioner of Police, IGI airport, Sanjay Bhatia said a compromise was arrived at between Katiyal and IndiGo staff Jubi Thomas after a complaint was made over a phone call to police.

Meanwhile, former Air India Chief and Railway Board Chairman, Ashwani Lohani also condemned the manhandling of airline passenger as “shameful” saying it was inhuman.

“The shameful manhandling by two airline (Indigo) employees in beating up a passenger on the tarmac is inhuman, disgusting to say the least and not at all acceptable in a civilized society,” Lohani wrote on social media networking site facebook.

Slamming the airlines for terminating its employee — Montu Kalra — who shot the video and turned a whistle blower in the manhandling case, Lohani said: “The subsequent action of the airline in sacking the whistleblower is the icing on the cake of gross misconduct. It is apparent that such an act is borne only out of the false sense of pride that the company has started displaying since their market share has started knocking on 50 per cent.”

“Indifference towards the very passengers who took them there is indeed sad. That the role of the national carrier in maintaining a sense of sobriety in airline operations and also fares may soon come to a halt in light of the ongoing disinvestment process is also a cause of concern in light of such incidents.

“What happened on the tarmac is just unacceptable and the government needs to step in with a very heavy hand and that too without delay,” the former Air India chief added..

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