DGCA issues show cause to IndiGo Airlines over mishandling of a special needs child

Indigo had refused to allow the child and his family to board the flight, claiming he was in a "state of panic" and posed threat to other passengers

Indigo had refused to allow the child and his family to board the flight, claiming he was in a
Indigo had refused to allow the child and his family to board the flight, claiming he was in a "state of panic" and posed threat to other passengers

DGCA says IndiGo staff handled child boarding incident inappropriately

The aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has sent a show cause to IndiGo over its handling of a special needs child that set off a huge backlash earlier this month. The airline has been given 10 days to present its explanation.

The DGCA which was investigating the incident at Ranchi airport said IndiGo handled the passengers “inappropriately”.

Indigo had refused to allow the child and his family to board the flight, claiming he was in a “state of panic” and posed threat to other passengers. No amount of appeals and explanations — by fellow passengers and a group of doctors who were taking the flight — made them change their stance.

Citing the investigation report, the DGCA said, “The findings of the committee prima facie indicate inappropriate handling of passengers by the Indigo staff thereby resulting in certain non-conformances with the applicable regulations.”

“In view of this, it has been decided to issue a show cause notice to the concerned airline… After hearing their submissions, appropriate action as per law would be taken,” the DGCA said.

Responding to this, Indigo said, “We have received the communication from DGCA on the matter and will respond in due course”.

In a statement, the airline stressed that it takes pride in being “inclusive”, playing down suggestions of discriminatory behaviour. The top executive of the company also backed the decision.

An account of the incident was shared on Facebook by a fellow passenger who had set off a huge row.

In a Facebook post, Manisha Gupta, a passenger who witnessed the scene at the airport said, “The child was ‘in throes of hunger, thirst, anxiety and confusion’. Though he was calmed down soon by his parents, the incident caught the attention of the Indigo staff, who refused to let the family board.”

“The Indigo staff announced that the child would not be allowed to take the flight. That he was a risk to other passengers. That he would have to become ‘normal’, before he could be travel-worthy,” she wrote.

IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta read, “Having reviewed all aspects of this incident, we as an organization are of the view that we made the best possible decision under difficult circumstances”.

Days later, aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia slammed the airlines for the behaviour tweeting, “There is zero tolerance towards such behaviour. No human being should have to go through this! Investigating the matter by myself, post which appropriate action will be taken”.

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