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Wheelchair non-availability: DGCA fines Air India Rs 30 lakh after elderly passenger’s death at Mumbai airport

New Delhi, Feb 29, 2024
Aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has imposed a penalty of Rs 30 lakh on Air India for inadequate number of wheelchairs due to which an elderly man passed away after collapsing at the Mumbai airport.

The incident occurred on February 12 when the passenger, aged over 80, initially requested a wheelchair but opted to walk after being informed of a wait due to high demand.

Tragically, the passenger collapsed and died during the immigration process.

“With reference to the incident of non-availability of a wheelchair by Air India to an 80-year-old passenger who collapsed and died after walk from plane to terminal at Mumbai,

the matter was examined and a show cause notice was issued to Air India for not complying with the provisions of the CAR section- 3, Series ‘M’, Part- I on ‘Carriage by Air – Persons with Disability (Divyangjan) and/or Persons with Reduced Mobility’ which is a violation of Aircraft Rules, 1937,” said Directer General of DGCA Vikram Dev Dutt.

However, Air India submitted its response on February 20 in which it informed that the elderly passenger wished to walk along with his wife who was on a wheelchair too, rather than wait for another wheelchair.

“The airline failed to show compliance of the CAR as the airline did not 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,” said DGCA chief.

“Accordingly, a financial penalty of Rs 30 lakh has been imposed on Air India as per Aircraft Rules, 1937 for violating the provisions of the aforementioned CAR,” said Dutt.

Dutt further said that an advisory has also been issued to 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.(Agency)

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