The Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Saturday announced that violations of in-flight rules, including photography, will attract a suspension of the scheduled route for two weeks.
The order came a day after the aviation regulator asked for a report from IndiGo airlines on violations of flight safety norms and physical distancing protocols by media persons on its Chandigarh to Mumbai flight, which had actor Kangana Ranaut onboard. A video shared on social media showed media persons crowding the aircraft’s aisle and pushing one another to gain access to the actor, who was seated in one of the front rows.
The DGCA notice read: “...as per Rule 13 of the Aircraft Rules 1937, no person shall take, or cause or permit to be taken, at a government aerodrome or from an aircraft in flight, any photograph except in accordance with and subject to the the terms and conditions of a permission in writing...”
The aviation regulator said airlines have failed to follow government-mandated rules because of what it called a “lack of diligence” on their part. “...it had been decided that from now on, in case any such violation occurs on any Scheduled Passenger Aircraft – the Schedule of flight for that particular route shall be suspended for a period of two weeks from the next day i.e. the day following and shall be restored only after the airline has taken all the necessary punitive action against those responsible for the violation,” the order read.
Ranaut has stirred a controversy earlier this month when she compared Mumbai to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The Centre provided Ranaut Y-plus security cover on September 7, which entitles her to a Personal Security Officer and 10 armed commandos.
A passenger who was on the same flight with Ranaut on Wednesday recounted the incident in a video, The Quint reported. She said that while media persons asked Ranaut several questions, she did not reply to a single one. The passenger also said that the flight attendant had announced that no filming would be allowed inside the flight, but to no avail.
“We have seen some videos wherein media persons are standing too close to each other on board the 6E264 flight on Wednesday,” an unidentified DGCA official said, according to Hindustan Times. “It seems to be a violation of safety and social distancing protocols.”