Heavily under fire for the carrier's lackadaisical response to the incident, Air India's top management had claimed that they were not immediately informed about the fiasco that took place mid-air. However, email threads recently accessed bring up the veracity of the claims in question.
The top bosses were aware that a drunk passenger on an Air India flight from New York to Delhi had allegedly urinated on an elderly woman in November 2022, latest reports have said.
The news caused a massive uproar when it became public over a month later. Heavily under fire for the carrier's lackadaisical response to the incident, Air India's top management had claimed that they were not immediately informed about the fiasco that took place mid-air. However, email threads recently accessed by Hindustan Times bring up the veracity of the claims in question.
The newspaper was able to examine emails sent on November 27 to the head of the inflight service department (IFSD), base operations in India, Lead HR head of IFSD, head of the northern region of IFSD and of complaints (customer care) by the cabin crew supervisor.
One of the messages was sent at 3.46 pm– within three hours of the aircraft landing at its destination, which was acknowledged as "Ok, noted" by Sandeep Verma, the head of IFSD. The airline's Chairman and Managing Director, Campbell Wilson, also received an email from the victim's son-in-law on the evening of November 27. Records show that he had forwarded the mail to the head of customer care, asking that it be attended to.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) only came to know of the incident on January 4 via media reports. On the same day, the airline said that the cause of the delay in reporting the matter to the aviation watchdog was that the crew did not report it on time.
In a statement, the carrier said that “we have also constituted an internal committee to probe lapses on part of Air India's crew and address the deficiencies that delayed quick redressal of the situation.”
Air India's top brass has not commented on recent findings that suggest otherwise.
The DGCA, which had initiated an investigation into the matter once it was brought it to light, has concluded its probe and slapped heavy fines on the airline. The aviation watchdog on January 20 imposed a penalty of Rs 30 lakh on Air India for violating the norms on handling unruly passenger behaviour aboard flights.
It also fined Air India's Director of in-flight services Rs 3 lakh for failing to discharge her duties. Mishra has been banned from flying Air India flights for four months. The pilot-in-command's license has been suspended for a period of three months owing to his failure to discharge his duties.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)
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