Unruly flyers to face life ban

Centre's no-fly list to check misbehaviour could be a double-edged sword

To curb the menace of "unruly passengers" on aircraft, the Union government has devised three categories to penalise such passengers and put them on a "no fly" list, according to media reports on Friday. Minister of state Jayant Sinha sinha the government will soon come out with rules for providing a unique ID card number with PNR to book tickets to ensure a person National Football League is not able to fly by using some other name.

As per the IATA, in 2015, there were 10,854 reported cases of unruly behaviour by the passengers across airlines worldwide, which translate into one incident for every 1,205 flights.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said that the new rules have been promulgated after a lot of deliberation and consultation with all stakeholders. The No-fly list will have two components- Unruly passengers banned by airlines and list provided by MHA for persons perceived to be national security risk.

The amendments to the existing vehicle on "Handling Unruly/Disruptive Passengers" came following the incident involving Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad who repeatedly slapped an Air India manager in April.

Emphasizing the Government's commitment for ensuring air travel safety, Raju said that the concept of the No-Fly List is in response to the concern for safety of passengers, crew and the aircraft, and not just on security threat. The CAR would also be applicable to foreign carriers subject to compliance of Tokyo Convention 1963. The punishment for offenders will be a ban of up to 6 months.

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A Level One offence would include any unruly physical gestures or verbal harassment - including unruly behaviour from drunk passengers - for which the person could be banned from flying for up to three months. This is because the country's first no-fly list has been released today. The passenger will face a minimum of two years of ban for "life threatening behaviour", assaults and damage to the aircraft.

A special Internal Committee will be set up to rule on complaints. This panel will be headed by a retired high court judge with a representative from a passenger or consumer association or a retired officer of a consumer dispute redressal forum and a senior VP-level official of the airline as member. During the period, the airlines may restrict the passenger from flying for a maximum period of 30 days.

Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will maintain the record of all such blacklisted passengers.

The internal committee will decide the quantum of ban based on evidence produced by both airline and passenger, including eye-witnesses, within a period of 30 days, failing which the passenger will be free to fly.

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