Air India on Friday lifted the ban on Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad from flying with the airline, after the Civil Aviation Ministry wrote to the national carrier asking it to revoke the restriction with immediate effect, ANI reported. The airline said Gaikwad had “conveyed his regrets” for the “unfortunate incident” in a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on April 6.
“In view of the apology tendered by Mr. Gaikwad and undertaking of good conduct given by him, AI and other airlines were advised [by the ministry] to lift the ban,” Air India said.
The carrier added that it will establish a “No Fly List” in consultation with the ministry, and that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation is drafting an amendment to the Civil Aviation Requirements on ways to deal with “unruly passengers” effectively in future.
This comes hours after Air India cancelled yet another ticket Gaikwad had booked with the airline to fly to Delhi from Mumbai, though the MP had denied booking the ticket. The carrier’s crew had demanded an unconditional apology from the Shiv Sena MP for attacking their staffer on March 23. They had maintained he was a threat to passenger safety.
On Thursday, Gaikwad had expressed his “regret” for assaulting an Air India staffer, but said he would not apologise. Besides Air India, he was banned by the Federation of Indian Airlines, which includes IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir and Jet Airways.
The Sena leader had earlier said he hit the Air India employee 25 times with his sandal because he was flown in the economy class despite booking a business class seat for his flight from Pune to Delhi. However, Air India had said the plane he had chosen to fly on was economy-only, and that he had refused to take a different flight.
Gaikwad had later claimed he had asked for a complaint book, not a business class ticket, and also said that his reaction was a response to the staffer speaking ill of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.