A day after Air India lifted the ban on Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad from flying with the carrier, the Federation of Indian Airlines – comprising private airlines Jet Airways, SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo – on Saturday revoked a similar restriction they had imposed on him. An FIA official said they had made the decision taking Air India’s move into consideration.
“Consequent to Air India restoring flying privileges to Gaikwad after being satisfied with the statement given by the MP, FIA member airlines are also restoring flying privileges to Gaikwad under the assurance that our assets and colleagues shall be accorded the respect that they deserve for the hard work that they put in every day,” said Ujwal Dey, associate director of FIA.
Air India had revoked the flying ban after the Civil Aviation Ministry had written to the national carrier asking it to revoke the restriction with immediate effect. But a section of the airline’s pilots have refused to fly Gaikwad even now, saying he had only expressed regret and not apologised for assaulting a senior crew member, according to Hindustan Times.
Moreover, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told ANI that the investigations into the March 23 incident was under way. “The law will take its course,” he added.
The carrier’s crew had demanded an unconditional apology from the Shiv Sena MP for attacking their staffer on March 23. They had maintained that he was a threat to passenger safety. On Thursday, Gaikwad had expressed his “regret” for assaulting the Air India staffer, but said he would not apologise.
The Sena leader had earlier said he had 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.
Meanwhile, Sinha said the ministry was planning to tighten norms so a national no-fly list can be framed. Air India had said on Friday 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.