The existing rules of aviation regulator DGCA are silent on creation of a ‘no-fly list’ as asked for by the airlines, where a set of passengers declared unruly by the airlines are denied even issuance of tickets.
However, Air India’s decision to “ban” Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaekwad “from flying on all (their) flights with immediate effect” draws from provisions of aviation regulator DGCA’s Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR).
Section 3 of the CAR (Air Transport Series ‘M’ Part ‘VI’) issued on November 18, 2014 deals with the handling of “disruptive passengers”. It provides for “passengers who are likely to be unruly” to be “refused embarkation or off-loaded”, if deemed to “pose a threat to the safety and security of the flight, fellow passengers or staff while on board aircraft”.
The CAR, also adds that “at no stage, the airline staff or crew member shall show discourteous behaviour during redressal of genuine passenger rights.” Indian Express quoting sources said there is no clarity on rules related to having a no fly list currently in India.
However, following the alleged incident involving Gaekwad, airlines are now asking security agencies and the government to enforce such a no fly list where unruly passengers are barred from flying. They are also seeking that the terms and conditions of such a list should be clear and standardised by the government or regulatory agencies, in order to ensure that these powers are not misused to deny flying rights without valid reasons.
In the US, carriers can unilaterally ban passengers based on standards set by the companies, according to Airlines for America, an industry trade group. Delta Airlines had, in November last year, imposed a lifetime ban on a passenger who disrupted a flight by yelling statements in favor of then US President-elect Donald Trump and making derogatory comments aimed at women who supported the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Sources in the DGCA said that the existing rules on unruly or disruptive passenger pertain only to those who have already bought the ticket and are either in the airport lounge or have boarded the plane. In such cases, airlines have been empowered to take action as per the procedure outlined in the CAR.
According to Section 3 of the CAR, “passengers who are likely to be unruly and disruptive must be carefully monitored, and if necessary, refused embarkation or off-loaded, if deemed to pose a threat to the safety and security of the flight, fellow passengers or staff while on board aircraft”. It further provides for airlines establishing a “mechanism to detect and report unruly passenger behaviour at check-in, in the lounges, and at the boarding gate in order to prevent such passengers from boarding.
The CAR, also adds that “at no stage, the airline staff or crew member shall show discourteous behaviour during redressal of genuine passenger rights.”