The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the aviation regulator in India, has imposed a penalty of Rs 110 crore on Air India for its failure to comply with norms pertaining to facilities that are required to be provided to passengers. The penalty was announced on Wednesday, after the DGCA conducted inspections of airlines at Delhi, Kochi and Bangalore airports.
Air India did not provide hotel accommodation, compensation, or training
According to the DGCA, Air India did not provide hotel accommodation for passengers affected by delayed flights, as per the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR). The airline also did not pay compensation to international business class passengers who were made to travel on unserviceable seats. Moreover, some of the ground personnel of Air India were not trained as per the stipulations of the CAR.
The DGCA issued a show-cause notice to Air India on November 3, 2023, and based on the airline’s reply, it found that the airline did not comply with the provisions of the CAR. For these lapses, the regulator imposed a financial penalty of Rs 110 crore on Air India.
Air India has been incurring losses and facing operational challenges
Air India, the national carrier of India, has been incurring losses for several years and facing operational challenges due to various factors. The airline has been struggling to pay salaries, dues, and debts, and has been seeking financial assistance from the government. The government has also been trying to sell its stake in Air India, but has not received any viable bids so far.
The penalty imposed by the DGCA adds to the woes of Air India, as it will affect its financial situation and reputation. The airline has not issued any official statement on the penalty yet.
DGCA has been taking strict action against airlines for violating norms
The DGCA has been taking strict action against airlines for violating norms and compromising passenger safety and rights. In January 2023, the DGCA slapped a penalty of Rs 30 lakh on Air India for an incident in which a person allegedly urinated on a female co-passenger on a New York-Delhi flight. The regulator also suspended the license of the pilot-in-command of the flight and fined the director of in-flight services of Air India.
In the same month, the DGCA imposed a penalty of Rs 30 lakh on Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), the airport operator, for allowing IndiGo passengers to have food on the tarmac, which violated security and safety norms. The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) also fined IndiGo Rs 1.20 crore and MIAL Rs 60 lakh for the same incident.
The DGCA has been monitoring the performance and compliance of airlines and airports, and has been issuing guidelines and advisories to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers.