Airline IndiGo has barred nine media persons from flying for 15 days following recommendations by an internal committee set up to look into the alleged unruly behaviour of the journalists onboard a flight in which actor Kangana Ranaut was also travelling in September, The Indian Express reported on Saturday. The media personnel have been barred from travelling from October 15 to 30.
Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation had asked for a report from IndiGo Airlines on the alleged violation of safety and physical distancing protocols by media persons on its September 9 Chandigarh to Mumbai flight, carrying Ranaut.
“We have seen some videos wherein media persons are standing too close to each other in the 6E 264 flight on Wednesday,” a DGCA official had said. “It seems to be a violation of safety and social distancing protocols. We have asked IndiGo to submit a report on this incident.” An official said Ranaut was sitting in one of the front rows on the flight.
Following this, the DGCA had announced that violations of in-flight rules, including photography, will attract a suspension of the scheduled route for two weeks. The aviation regulator had 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.
The airline had then submitted a report to the DGCA, saying that its crew followed all requisite protocols including announcements to restrict photography, following physical distancing and safety norms. A passenger who was on the same flight with Ranaut had recounted the incident in a video, according to The Quint. 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.