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DGCA slaps Air India with ₹30 lakh penalty following 80-year-old passenger’s death at Mumbai airport!

Aviation regulator DGCA slaps ₹30 lakh fine on Air India for wheelchair incident involving 80-year-old passenger at Mumbai airport.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has imposed a financial penalty of ₹30 lakhs on civil airline Air India following a 16 February incident of non-availability of a wheelchair to an 80-year-old passenger who collapsed and died after walking from the aircraft to the airport terminal at Mumbai.

According to reports, an octogenarian Air India passenger had requested for a wheelchair at the Mumbai airport. However, he decided to walk as he was asked to wait due to heavy demand for wheelchair, died after collapsing at the time of immigration process.

The incident happened at the airport on February 12 after the passenger landed in an Air India flight from New York.

“Air India did not inform about any action taken by the airline against the erring employee(s) and the airline also failed to submit any corrective actions taken to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future,” a DGCA official informed.

Earlier this month, DGCA issued a show cause notice to the carrier, which submitted its response to the watchdog on February 20.

The airline submitted that the elderly passenger wished to walk along with his wife who was on a wheelchair too, rather than wait for another wheelchair.

“An advisory has also been issued to all airlines to ensure that an adequate number of wheelchairs are available for passengers who require assistance during embarking or disembarking from the aircraft during their journey,” DGCA said.

In a statement on Friday, Air India said that due to heavy demand for wheelchair, it had requested the passenger to wait for an airline staff-assisted wheelchair but he opted to walk along with his spouse.

“In an unfortunate incident, one of our guests flying from New York to Mumbai on February 12, fell ill while proceeding to clear immigration with his wife, who was on wheelchair,” the Air India said.

As advised by the airport doctor attending to him after taking ill, the airline said the passenger was immediately rushed to the hospital, where he was declared to have passed away.

According to Air India, it is in constant touch with the family members of the bereaved, extending necessary assistance, and added that it has a clearly laid down policy to offer wheelchair assistance to all passengers who pre-book the same.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai airport saw fewer delays in flight arrivals following recent measures to resolve congestion and delays, bringing relief to thousands of travellers transiting India’s second-busiest airport daily.

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