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Business News/ Companies / News/  DGCA slaps 30 lakh fine on Air India over elderly flyer's death after wheelchair shortage at Mumbai airport
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DGCA slaps ₹30 lakh fine on Air India over elderly flyer's death after wheelchair shortage at Mumbai airport

Aviation regulator DGCA imposed a ₹30 lakh penalty on Air India for a wheelchair incident at Mumbai airport that led to the death of an 80-year-old passenger.

Aviation regulator DGCA has slapped a ₹30 lakh fine on Air India for wheelchair unavailability at Mumbai airport that resulted in the death of an 80-year-old passenger. (Matthieu Rondel/Bloomberg)Premium
Aviation regulator DGCA has slapped a 30 lakh fine on Air India for wheelchair unavailability at Mumbai airport that resulted in the death of an 80-year-old passenger. (Matthieu Rondel/Bloomberg)

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on February 29 imposed a penalty of 30 lakh on Air India following a February 12 incident of wheelchair unavailability at Mumbai airport that resulted in the death of an 80-year-old passenger. The elderly passenger who opted to walk from the aircraft to the airport terminal due to lack of a wheelchair collapsed and later died in a hospital.

The octogenarian Air India passenger reportedly pre-booked a wheelchair at the Mumbai airport. However, he decided to walk as he was asked to wait due to the heavy demand for wheelchairs. He collapsed at the time of the immigration process and later died.

The incident happened at the airport on February 12 after the passenger landed on an Air India flight from New York.

"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," a DGCA official informed.

Earlier this month, the DGCA issued a show cause notice to the carrier, which submitted its response to the watchdog on February 20.

The airline submitted that the elderly passenger wished to walk along with his wife, who was in a wheelchair, rather than wait for another wheelchair.

“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," the DGCA said.

In a statement, Air India 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," Air India said.

As advised by the airport doctor attending to him after taking ill, the airline said the passenger was immediately rushed to the hospital, where he was declared to have passed away.

According to Air India, it is 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.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai airport saw fewer delays in flight arrivals following recent measures to resolve congestion and delays, bringing relief to thousands of travellers transiting India's second-busiest airport daily.

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Published: 29 Feb 2024, 02:06 PM IST
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