Air India ‘pee-gate’: ‘Pilot-in-command has been made scapegoat’

Majority of pilots feel that the DGCA action on the pilot-in-command (PIC) of the Air India aircraft, in which a man urinated on a fellow woman passenger on-board, was not necessary.

Noting the fact that the PIC had informed the senior management of the airline about the urination incident on November 26, 2022 soon after it happened, sources claimed that pilots’ body – Indian Pilots’ Guild may take legal recourse or choose other options following action by the aviation regulator DGCA in which the licence of the PIC of the flight was suspended for three months.

Sources claimed that the action of the regulator on the PIC has not gone down well with most of the pilots and they are mulling on options against this.

A senior pilot claimed that the PIC concerned had acted very maturely and timely in the case.

“The matter was reported to the senior management of the company at that time. We believe that he has been punished unnecessarily in this matter,” he added.

Email exchanges have disclosed that Air India’s senior management was made aware of the incident two hours after it took place.

As per reports, Air India CEO, Campbell Wilson also received an e-mail from the woman passenger’s son-in-law on the same evening, and forwarded the mail to the head of customer care, asking that it be attended to.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday imposed a fine of Rs 30 lakh on Air India and suspended the license of pilot-in-command for three months in the Air India urination case.

Moreover, the regulator also imposed a penalty of Rs 3 lakh on Director-in-flight services of Air India for failing to discharge duties.

The incident of passenger misbehaviour which occurred on AI-102 flight on November 26, 2022 from New York to New Delhi, came to the notice of DGCA on January 4, 2023 wherein a male passenger conducted himself in a disorderly manner and allegedly relieved himself on a female passenger, said a senior DGCA official.

DGCA had earlier issued showcause notice to Accountable Manager of Air India, director in-flight services of Air India, all the pilots and cabin crew members of that flight as to why enforcement action should not be taken against them for dereliction of their regulatory obligations.

DGCA received the written reply of Air India and the personnel involved and were examined.

Accordingly, enforcement actions have been taken in the instant case.

“Financial penalty of Rs 30,00,000 has been imposed on Air India for violation of applicable DGCA Civil Aviation Requirements. License of Pilot-In-Command of the said flight has been suspended for a period of three months for failing to discharge his duties as per Rule 141 of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 and applicable DGCA Civil Aviation Requirements. And, a financial penalty of Rs 3,00,000 has been imposed on Director-in-flight services of Air India for failing to discharge her duties as per applicable DGCA Civil Aviation Requirements,” said the regulator on Friday.

20230121-212803

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