Emails Show Top Air India Executives Knew About Incident Hours After Flight | latest Indian news
Air India’s senior management, including its chairman and CEO Campbell Wilson, were aware of the incident on flight AI-102 on November 26, when a drunk passenger allegedly urinated on a female passenger, according to emails reviewed by Hindustan. Times, a fact that runs counter to claims by the airline’s top brass that they were not immediately informed of the incident.
The email threads seen by HT include those sent to the Head of Inflight Service Department (IFSD), India Base Operations, Senior IFSD HR Head, IFSD North Region Head and Complaints (Customer Service). , on November 27 by the cabin crew supervisor.
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On Friday, India’s airline regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation tax a pity of $30 lakh on Air India, suspended the license of the pilot in command of the New York-Delhi flight and slapped a fine of $3 lakh to the airline’s inflight service manager for failing to perform her duties.
Air India did not respond to HT’s request for comment.
One of the first messages was sent at 3:46 p.m.—the flight landed at 1 p.m.
Wilson himself also received an email from the passenger’s son-in-law that same night and forwarded the email to the head of customer service, requesting that they attend to it. HT has also reviewed a copy of these emails.
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On January 4, media reports first highlighted the incident, causing outrage among the general public and prompting the DGCA, who knew nothing until then, to act.
At the time, the airline said that the delay in reporting the matter to the DGCA was due to the crew not reporting it in time. “We have also set up an internal committee to investigate the failures on the part of the Air India crew and address the deficiencies that delayed prompt remediation of the situation…,” Air India said in a statement on Jan. 4.
Separately, an airline official, who asked not to be named, told HT at the time that there were failures on multiple levels. “Failing to invoke the unruly passenger law, preventing the passenger from urinating on the victim, failing to provide for the victim’s basic needs, failing to inform the pilot-in-command to the airline ground staff to ask the police in Delhi for detaining the passenger, and the airline for failing to expeditiously address the claim and file an FIR instantly. Altogether, it is a total system collapse,” the official said.
The DGCA issued a notice, requesting an explanation from the airline and crew.
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Statements from 15 cabin crew members and four Air India pilots who operated this flight were sent to the DGCA as part of the response on Thursday. These answers, seen by HT, show that all the required documentation of the episode was done upon landing. The flight report, mentioning the incident, was filled out and signed by the pilot in command, a statement was taken from two passengers seated in 8A and 9C —the woman was in 9A and the alleged perpetrator in 8C— and the incident was reported to the chiefs of department
A crew member’s statement to DGCA said the cabin supervisor called Mahipal Antil, IFSD’s senior head of human resources and Neeta Khungar, base manager, Delhi.
When the supervisor called Antil to understand the way forward, the person was told that this was not a “rogue passenger” incident and that the Captain was right not to upgrade the passenger to First Class.
On Friday, pilots’ unions were agitated as the DGCA, in addition to imposing a fine on Air India, suspended the pilot-in-command for three months on the grounds that he failed to perform his duties under the rules.
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“The sanction given by the DGCA is the same for the person who committed the alleged crime and for the pilot in command. Now the best thing is just to report every passenger to the airline and the police to save us from actions in an ‘alleged’ incident,” said a senior Air India pilot on condition of anonymity.