Updated February 29th, 2024 at 14:51 IST

Mumbai Airport Wheelchair Row: DGCA Penalises Air India ₹30 Lakh Following Passenger's Death

Aviation regulator DGCA had earlier issued a show cause notice to Air India

Reported by: Digital Desk
Air India detects cabin lighting issue in B777 planes | Image:PTI
Advertisement

Mumbai Wheelchair Incident: Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has imposed a fine of Rs 30 lakh on Air India for the incident where an 80-year-old passenger collapsed and later died after walking from the plane to the terminal at the Mumbai airport after not getting a wheelchair. The incident happened on February 12. A senior official at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) confirmed a penalty of Rs 30 lakh has been imposed on Air India as it failed to provide any wheelchair to the elderly passenger. "Further, Air India did not inform about any action taken by the airline against the erring employee(s) and the airline also failed to submit any corrective actions taken to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future," the official said.

DGCA had earlier issued a show cause notice to Air India regarding the incident.  The DGCA had sought a report from Air India on the incident. In a statement, DGCA said it has issued a show cause notice to Air India for not complying with the provisions of the relevant Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR). The airline has been asked to give its response in seven days.
    
In the wake of the incident, the regulator has also directed all airlines to ensure that an adequate number of wheelchairs are available for passengers who require assistance during embarking or disembarking from the aircraft during their journey.
    
Under its CAR, the regulator said airlines are mandatorily required to provide assistance to persons with disability or reduced mobility.
    
According to the statement, Air India informed that Babu Patel expired on arrival of AI-116 from New York on February 12.
    
"Babu Patel (80 years) accompanied his spouse Narmadaben Patel (76 years). Both passengers had booked wheelchairs. The passengers were requested to wait as there was a high demand for wheelchairs. One wheelchair was available... and Patel decided to start walking along with his wife on a wheelchair.
    
"While walking, Patel collapsed near the APHO office," it said.
    
Then, a doctor at MIAL was called and after examining the passenger, it was decided to hospitalise the passenger after giving CPR. The passenger was rushed to the Nanavati Hospital in MIAL ambulance and at the hospital, the doctor after examination informed that the passenger did not survive, as per the statement.
    
Air India had earlier said that due to heavy demand for wheelchairs, it had requested the passenger to wait for an airline staff-assisted wheelchair but he opted to walk along with his spouse.  "In an unfortunate incident, one of our guests flying from New York to Mumbai on February 12, fell ill while proceeding to clear immigration with his wife, who was in a wheelchair," the airline said. 

Advertisement

Air India said that it was in constant touch with the family members of the bereaved, extending necessary assistance, and added that it has a clearly laid down policy to offer wheelchair assistance to all passengers who pre-book the same.

Advertisement

Published February 29th, 2024 at 14:08 IST