A probe has been ordered into the Vizag airport incident involving the alleged ruckus created by a Telugu Desam Party MP after he was denied boarding by IndiGo for being late, even as all major domestic airlines imposed a flying ban on him citing “unruly behaviour”.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, who also belongs to the same party, today said he would get the entire incident “enquired into” and will ensure “lawful outcomes” follow.
The MP, J C Diwakar Reddy, was scheduled to fly IndiGo’s flight 6E-608, which departs from Visakhapatnam at 8.10 am, to Hyderabad. But he reached just 28 minutes before the scheduled departure, according to the airline.
As per norms laid out by the aviation regulator, airlines close check-in counters for all domestic fights 45 minutes prior to departure.
Reddy — who had allegedly vandalised the Air India office at Gannavaram airport in Vijayawada last year after he missed his flight — got into a verbal spat with the ground staff and threw a printer kept at the airline’s counter after he was informed that boarding for his flight had closed.
He was finally accommodated on the same flight, but all the major domestic carriers, including IndiGo, later banned him from their flights.
A day after the incident, Raju this morning said the entire matter would be looked into.
“I will get the entire incident at Vizag airport enquired into to find out the exact details and ensure that lawful outcomes follow,” he said in a tweet.
The minister also denied a media report that he had intervened to ensure Reddy was allowed to board the IndiGo flight and said there was “no such intervention”.
In a show of unity, all major domestic airlines have barred Reddy from taking their flights — similar to action taken by the carriers after the incident involving Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad earlier this year.
Following the Gaikwad incident, the government framed draft rules for a national no-fly list for unruly passengers and proposed a flying ban on such persons that can range from three months to an indefinite period. The government is expected to finalise these rules shortly.
IndiGo, state-run Air India, SpiceJet and Jet Airways announced flying ban on Reddy last night itself while full- service carrier Vistara and two more budget airlines — GoAir and AirAsia India — today barred him from their flights.
“After careful consideration of the various issues and ramifications of the actions of Reddy, GoAir has also taken a decision of not accepting any further bookings for the said passenger,” the airline said in a statement.
An AirAsia India spokesperson said it has also barred Reddy from flying. AirAsia India in its statement said it supports the decision to impose a flying ban by the fellow domestic airlines.
“We will support the decision taken by the industry with regard to the recent incident involving an IndiGo staff,” the AirAsia India spokesperson said in the statement. “AirAsia India does not tolerate abusive or unruly behaviour by passengers that puts the safety of other guests and crew members on board at risk,” the airline said.
The airline is fully committed to providing a safe and comfortable journey to guests, the statement added.
“In support of the fellow carriers, Vistara has also taken a decision to impose flying ban on J C Diwakar Reddy,” a Vistara spokesperson said.
Television channels yesterday also showed CCTV visuals of him allegedly pushing an IndiGo employee.
“The staff politely informed him that boarding for flight 6E-608 is closed and offered to accommodate Mr Reddy in the subsequent flight. Mr Reddy expressed his annoyance and soon raged against the staff using aggressive and abusive behaviour,” IndiGo said in a statement after the incident.
“Any untoward conduct which compromises the safety and security of our passengers and staff is a serious concern for us. Safety and security of passengers, crew and the aircraft are the top priority and it cannot be compromised,” it added.