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NEW DELHI : InterGlobe Aviation Limited-operated IndiGo, which denied boarding a differently abled child on a Hyderabad-bound flight at the Ranchi airport on Saturday, is being investigated by the civil aviation regulator after the incident created a furor on social media. 

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has received a report about the incident from the airline, a senior official at the agency told Mint. 

"However, in view of the facts and circumstances described, we have decided to conduct a fact-finding enquiry, which shall be done by a three-member team from DGCA. They will visit Ranchi and Hyderabad (place of stay of the concerned family) and collect appropriate evidence within one week from today. Based on the outcome of the said enquiry, further action shall entail.," the official added, requesting anonymity. 

The incident, filmed and widely shared on social media, shows passengers arguing with IndiGo ground staff to allow a child seated on a wheelchair to board the flight. 

On Monday, the civil aviation minister, Jyotiraditya Scindia, said he would investigate the incident.  

"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," Scindia said on social media platform Twitter on Monday. 

Meanwhile, IndiGo on Monday said that the airline couldn't carry the specially-abled teenager onboard as he was visibly in panic. 

"While providing courteous and compassionate service to our customers is of paramount importance to us, the airport staff, in line with the safety guidelines, were forced to make a difficult decision as to whether this commotion would carry forward aboard the aircraft," IndiGo's chief executive Rono Dutta said in a statement. 

"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," Dutta added. 

Furthermore, an IndiGo spokesperson said that the airline followed DGCA guidelines when they denied the differently abled child from boarding the flight. 

The spokesperson pointed out that as per the DGCA guidelines, Civil Aviation Requirements 4.4, state that passengers who are likely to be unruly must be carefully monitored, and if deemed to pose a threat to the safety and security of the flight, fellow passengers or staff while on board aircraft, should be refused embarkation or off-loaded. 

According to Civil aviation Requirements 4.5, all airlines shall establish mechanism to detect and report unruly passenger behaviour at check-in, in the lounges, at the boarding gate or any other place in civil aviation requirements section 3, series M Part VI, the terminal building in order to prevent such passengers from boarding, the spokesperson added. 

However, air safety experts said that the airline is trying to portray a differently abled child as an unruly passenger, and under the law, no airlines are allowed to refuse to carry persons with disability or reduced mobility and their assistive aids/devices provided such persons or their representatives at the time of booking inform the airline of their requirements.

"Conditions of carriage has provisions, were they explained to parents? If truly concerned, was medical help sought at first instance," said Amit Singh, an air operations and safety expert, also the founder of Safety Matters Foundation (NGO), said on Twitter. 

"Parents & Doctors (fellow pax) assistance and assurance were available. How was safety impacted," Singh added. 

 

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