India to introduce no-fly list for unruly passengers

Airport security looks at a family’s travel documents at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport in Calcutta, India. Pic: Sihasakprachum/Shutterstock

FOR the first time in India, the Civil Aviation Ministry has released draft rules for a national no-fly list for unruly passengers.

The draft was introduced following a high-profile incident of Indian politician and lawmaker Ravindra Gaikwad attacking an Air India flight attendant with slippers over a change of seating.

India’s flag carrier subsequently banned Gaikwad from its flights and he was forced to take the trains to attend sessions at the national Parliament until the ban was overturned last month.

The draft proposes to ban passengers on the grounds of three categories of misbehavior, including lewd comments and sexual harassment, damage of aircraft, and murderous assault.

Depending on the severity of the offense, passengers on the no-fly list could find themselves banned from all Indian carriers for a period of three months or more.

Aviation secretary R N Choubey said, “We have categorized unruly passengers under three levels and the quantum of flying ban will range between three months and two years and beyond, which would also include a lifetime ban.”

However, banned passengers – except those identified as threats by security agencies – will be able to appeal their no-fly status to a quasi-judicial committee for review.

The proposal does not include a blanket ban by all airlines on a single passenger.

Junior Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha said at a press conference, “To have a national no-fly list where we’ve identified individuals based on unruly or disruptive behaviour, who are jeopardising airline safety, will in fact be quite unique and India is blazing a new trail in this regard.”

The draft will allow a month for public comments before a final decision is made by June 30.

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