Air India received eight sexual harassment complaints internally during the first half of this year as compared to the total 10 complaints in 2018, sources said. On May 16 this year, airline's chief Ashwani Lohani told the employees through a text message that sexual harassment cases are "often" being witnessed in Air India and the airline needs to come down "very very heavily" on such offenders.
The chairman and managing director's message came after the airline announced on May 15 that it has set up a high-level inquiry to probe a sexual harassment complaint filed by a woman pilot against a commander. A source told PTI, "During 2018, 10 complaints of sexual harassment have been filed at Air India. Between January 1 and July 1 of 2019, eight complaints of sexual harassment have been received."
Another source said on Sunday that Air India has been dealing with each such complaint in the "strictest manner possible". In May this year, the aforementioned high-level inquiry was initiated after the woman pilot filed a complaint, which stated that the alleged incident took place on May 5 at Hyderabad where she was being trained by the commander.
The commander was told on May 20 by the national carrier that he needs a written permission to enter the airline's offices till an inquiry into the complaint is over. In a letter to the accused, Air India Regional Director (northern region) Abhay Pathak said that "pending (an) enquiry... during the period of suspension, you will not enter the premises of Air India Limited without written permission". "You will not leave the station (Delhi) without written permission of the undersigned," Pathak added.