Birju Kishore Salla has become the first Indian to be put on no-fly list since the rule was enacted nearly a year ago.
Salla has been banned from flying under the highest level (three) of on-board unruly behaviour that entails grounding from two years to a lifetime, reported Times of India. This level covers life-threatening behaviour like damage to aircraft operating systems, serious physical violence and attempted or actual breach of cockpit. Level one covers unruly behaviour like physical gestures. Punishment under this level can be grounding of up to three months. The second level is for physically abusive behaviour like pushing and sexual harassment, where grounding is up to six months. Under each level, grounding time is doubled for subsequent offences.
On 30 October last year, Salla was flying on seat 1A of 9W 339, a Mumbai-Delhi flight. He was accused of leaving a note in the business class lavatory which read: “9W 339 is covered by hijackers and a/c (aircraft) should not land and (be) flown straight to POK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir). 12 ppl on board. If you put landing you can hear the noise of people dying. Don’t take it as a joke. Cargo area contains explosive bombs and will blast if you land in DEL (Delhi).”
The plane was later diverted to Ahmedabad. The bomb disposal squad had thoroughly checked the plane and found no explosives on board the Ket flight.
The no-fly rule was enacted after Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad had punched and hit a 60-year-old Air India Duty Manager with his slippers nearly 20 times and tore his shirt at IGI airport in Delhi just because he could not travel business class in an all-economy flight.
The national carrier as well as other domestic airlines had then barred him from taking their flights.
The ban was later revoked after the MP wrote a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju expressing regret over the incident.