Mumbai airport incident shameful, says Scindia
Hyderabad: Terming as shameful the recent incident of passengers of a diverted flight being fed while seated on the tarmac at Mumbai airport, Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Jyotiraditya Scindia on Thursday said the ministry has put in place Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to prevent such incidents in future.
He said a repeat of the Mumbai incident was unacceptable and therefore the ministry had imposed a fine on IndiGo and Mumbai airport.
Stating that the SOPs put in place were substantial, he assured that the ministry would ensure safe and secure travel for everyone in the community.
He cautioned that very strict action would be taken for violation of rules that have been put in place.
Scindia was addressing a Press conference during ‘Wings India 2024’, Asia’s biggest civil aviation event that began here on Thursday.
The ministry on Wednesday imposed a fine of Rs.1.20 crore on IndiGo and Rs.60 lakh on Mumbai airport.
The IndiGo flight from Goa to Delhi was diverted to Mumbai on January 14 due to low visibility at Delhi airport.
“A chain of events led to this aircraft coming into the airport and as opposed to it going into a parking stand for reasons that I cannot even imagine, it was sent off into a parking bay. I have repeatedly said safety and security of citizens is primary for us under civil aviation. Therefore, within hours of getting to know of that incident, a meeting was held with all officials within the ministry and the show-cause notice was immediately issued,” he said.
“The fact that passengers were inconvenienced, the fact that they had to eat on the tarmac, the fact that security had been compromised, across all points, was unacceptable,” he added.
The minister said, within 24 hours of notices being issued necessary penalties were levied. The ministry also issued two separate civil aviation requirements. One of them is about the additional steps needed to be taken during a fog by airlines and airports separately.
“In the event an aircraft is diverted there are SOPs in place that every airline and every airport operator needs to follow. The aircraft should be taken to the contact stand and not only the crew but also the passengers should be deboarded and all facilities should be made available to them. They should be looked after, meals should be arranged and when the new crew comes the passengers should be moved from arrival to departure, make them go through security and board again,” he said.
Scindia also said that flight delays of 6 to 8 hours will become a thing of the past as airlines have been instructed that if they are looking at a flight being delayed beyond three hours, they must treat that flight as cancelled.
He stated that the DGCA will be monitoring twice or thrice a day all SOPs in terms of cancellations and delays.
He said he had already asked every airline to set up a war room at every airport. In case of delay the passengers must be informed through SMS, email and WhatsApp.
The minister observed that the civil aviation sector has to continuously evolve as the number of passengers grows and service to them must be of the highest quality.