Passengers wait for their luggage at a conveyor be at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai
The No-Fly list is finally here. Following the outrage over Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad assaulting an Air India manager in the last week of March this year, the civil aviation ministry have announced a three-level classification of unruly behavior. The classification ranges from verbal harassment to sexual harassment to life-threatening behavior displayed against any aviation crew.
The draft guidelines do not make it mandatory for an airline to bar any passenger found on the No-Fly list of another airline. The decision has been left to the airlines on a case to case basis.
” We welcome the draft policy guidelines for India’s first no-fly list. We will examine this further to understand the larger implications,” said low cost airline Indigo in a press release.
These draft guidelines has been put up on the DGCA website for a month to invite public comments.
Following are the key elements of the No-Fly list.
1) What category of offences have been specified that will attract flying restrictions?
The draft policy guidelines comes under Civil Aviation Requirements or CAR, Section 3 of the Air Transport Rules. The policy explains in detailed terms what will constitute as unruly or disruptive behavior. Airlines have been asked to establish Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) including the role of ground staff, flight crew, airline airport manager to deal with unruly/disruptive passenger while at airport or on board aicrraft. Crew members have to be trained to attempt to defuse a critical situation until it becomes clear that there is no way to resolve through verbal communication and written notice to the passenger.
Airlines have been asked to categorize unruly behavior into the following categories.
a) Level 1: Disruptive behavior (physical gestures, verbal harassment, unruly inebriation, etc.)
b) Level 2: Physically abusive behavior (pushing, kicking, hitting, grabbing or inappropriate touching or sexual harassment, etc.)
c) Level 3: Life-threatening behavior (damage to aircraft operating system, physical violence such as choking, eye gouging, murderous assault, attempted or actual breach of the flight crew compartment, etc.)
2) What will be the steps taken before putting a unruly passenger on the No-Fly list?
Clause 6 of the draft guidelines under the header ‘Processing and Reporting of Unruly/Disruptive Passengers’ explains the steps to be taken by the aggrieved airline.
a) Whenever an airline receives a complaint of unruly/disruptive behavior by a passenger, then the incident shall be referred by the airlines to an Internal Committee. This Internal Committee shall be constituted by the airline and it shall consist of the following:
– Retired District & Sessions Judge as Chairman.
– A representative from a different scheduled Airline as Member.
– Representative from a passengers association or consumer association or retired officer of Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum as Member.
b) This Internal Committee shall decide, within a period of ten days of the matter being referred to it, whether the passenger in question falls in the category of unruly/disruptive passengers, and also decide the Level in which this passenger is to be slotted. This Committee will also decide the period for which the passenger is to be barred from flying as per the CAR.
c) Pending decision of the Internal Committee, the airline may ban such unruly passenger from flying, which may not exceed a period of 10 days.
The decision of the internal committee shall be binding on the Airline concerned. In case this Committee fails to take a decision in the matter within ten days, then the Airline concerned shall be free to decide the matter appropriately, exercising the powers of this Committee.
3) For how long can the passenger be barred from flying?
For any person who is placed on the No-Fly List, airlines shall have option to bar him from taking flights to/from/within India for periods as indicated below. Sale of ticket by mistake to such a person shall not confer a right upon him to fly. This shall be in addition to any action that may be taken against him under the appropriate law.
a) Level 1 – upto three months.
b) Level 2 – upto six months.
c) Level 3 – for a minimum period of 2 years or more without limit.
For every subsequent offence, the person will be banned for twice the period of previous ban.
4) What are the options for the passenger to appeal any adverse decision taken by the internal committee of the airline?
The person so included in the No-Fly List shall be informed in writing by the Airline concerned about his having been included in the list, the reason therefor and the duration of the ban.
Aggrieved persons, on receipt of intimation from airline, may appeal against each such ban to an Appellate Committee constituted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, which shall consist of the following:
a) Retired Judge of a High Court of India.
b) Representative from a passengers association or consumer association or retired officer of Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum as Member.
c) Representative of the airline of the rank not below the Vice-President as Member.
5) What can a passenger do if he is not happy with the Appellate Committee decision?
The decision of the Appellate Committee shall be final in so far as the Government is concerned. Any further appeal shall lie in a High Court.
These draft guidelines have also included a clause that talks about individuals identified as national security threats for inclusion in the No-Fly list. The Ministry of Home Affairs will provide to DGCA and to the Airlines a list of such individuals. Such cases will not be covered by appeal provisions as provided to others mentioned across the three levels for unruly behavior.
Click here to read full text of the DGCA guidelines.