The DGCA has asked IndiGo to take "appropriate action" after the regulator found alleged violation of safety and social distancing protocols by mediapersons in the airline's Chandigarh-Mumbai flight that had actor Kangana Ranaut as a passenger, senior officials said on Friday.
"We have seen some videos wherein mediapersons 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. 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.
As per the DGCA rules, an airline can put an "unruly passenger" on its "no-fly list" for a certain period of time after an internal enquiry. 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 that 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.
According to the video, Ranaut disembarked from the plane without giving any comment to the mediapersons on board. The Shiv Sena, which heads the alliance government in the state, and Ranaut had engaged in a war of words after she likened Mumbai to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and said she feared Mumbai Police more than alleged movie mafia.
On Wednesday morning, a team of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had demolished the alterations allegedly made without the civic body's approval at Ranaut's bungalow at Pali Hill in Mumbai. Ranaut arrived in Mumbai the same day after the demolition through the aforementioned IndiGo flight. On PTI's request for a statement, IndiGo said, "We have given our statement to the DGCA regarding the matter pertaining to flight 6E 264 from Chandigarh to Mumbai, on September 9, 2020."
"We would like to reiterate that our cabin crew, as well as the captain followed all the requisite protocols, including announcements to restrict photography, follow social distancing and maintain overall safety," the airline stated. IndiGo said it also followed the requisite protocol of documenting this matter in its post-flight report. "We are committed to providing a safe, hassle-free experience to our passengers," it added.
On this incident, a DGCA official on Friday said, "We have asked the airline (IndiGo) to take appropriate action against those responsible." Also, the regulator has asked the airline to submit a report on this incident, the official mentioned. 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.