Taking a strong stance on the violation of safety and social distancing protocols by media persons in IndiGo's Chandigarh-Mumbai flight that had actor Kangana Ranaut onboard this week, the DGCA has issued strict guidelines for airlines with regard to photography and videography on flights. "In case of any violation of Rule 13 of Aircraft Rules 1937 on any passenger aircraft, the schedule of flight for that particular route shall be suspended for two weeks from the next day i.e. the day following and shall be restored only after the airline has taken all the necessary punitive action against those responsible for the violation," the aviation regulator said in a new notification on Saturday.
The Director-General of Civil Aviation notification said the airlines have failed to follow photography and videography rules in aircraft due to lack of diligence on their part. "...such deviations result in a compromise in maintaining the highest standards of safety and therefore, it not to be allowed," the order reiterated. The DGCA notification came a day after it asked the airline (IndiGo) to take appropriate action against those responsible, and directed to submit a report on this incident.
As per the Civil Aviation Ministry's social distancing rules issued on May 25, "On arrival at the destination, passengers should be allowed to exit (the plane) in a sequence so as to avoid any bunching." The DGCA rules also suggest that an airline can put an "unruly passenger" on its "no-fly list" for a certain period of time after an internal enquiry.
"We have seen some videos wherein media persons are standing too close to each other in the 6E264 flight on Wednesday. It seems to be a violation of safety and social distancing protocols," a DGCA official said, reported PTI.
There are multiple issues with this incident, and prominent among them are related to "photography on board in violation of Aircraft rules 13, violation of Covid-19 protocols and certain actions falling within the purview of unruly behaviour on board," the official stated.
A viral video of the Wednesday's incident showed that reporters and camerapersons of various TV channels were jostling and bunching up near the front rows to get a comment from Ranaut after the plane landed at the Mumbai airport. The video purportedly showed the actor was sitting in one of the front rows. In the video, one crew member can be heard telling the passengers to sit down in their seats and not "harass" anyone as the seat belt sign had not been turned off. The video shows Ranaut disembarked from the plane without giving any comment to the media persons on board.
With PTI inputs