Air carriers Vistara and AirAsia India on Friday joined other airlines in barring TDP MP J.C. Diwakar Reddy from their flights, even as Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju promised a probe into the incident at Visakhapatnam airport where he allegedly misbehaved with IndiGo officials.
AirAsia India and Vistara said they fully supported the decision taken by the industry and that there has to be “zero tolerance” to abusive behaviour.
As of Friday, all the seven major domestic airlines have barred Reddy from using their services.
IndiGo had placed a ban on flying Reddy on late Thursday evening, which was followed by four more airlines — Air India, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and GoAir — also barring him.
On his part, Raju said that he will get the “entire incident” relating to TDP MP allegedly creating a ruckus at the Visakhapatnam airport and being subsequently barred by seven airlines probed.
“I will get the entire incident at Vizag Airport enquired into to find out the exact details and ensure that lawful outcomes follow,” Raju tweeted on Friday, a day after Reddy was denied a boarding pass for an IndiGo flight as he had showed up late and subsequently kicked up a row at the airport.
Raju also denied any intervention to allow boarding for the MP on the same flight which was earlier denied to him.
Interestingly, Raju was present at the airport at the time of Thursday’s incident. He had even claimed that Reddy had reached the airport on time.
“Perhaps, the flight was overbooked,” the Minister had said on Thursday.
It’s been alleged that after being denied a boarding pass, the Telugu Desam Party lawmaker from Anantapur damaged a printer and misbehaved with IndiGo airline staff.
The MP had reported at the check-in counter 28 minutes before the scheduled departure of the flight against the regulation 45 minutes. As the airline staff told him they cannot issue him a boarding pass, he got angry and entered into a heated argument with them.
Closed-circuit television footage aired on some television channels showed the TDP leader shouting at the airline staff even as some security personnel tried to pacify him.
“The staff politely informed him that boarding for flight 6E-608 was closed and offered to accommodate Reddy in a subsequent flight,” IndiGo has said in a statement on Thursday.
“Reddy expressed his annoyance and soon raged against the staff using aggressive and abusive behaviour. IndiGo saw a footage aired by some media personnel — which shows visual representation of Reddy’s aggressive behaviour against the staff and further damaging the airport property.”
In a similar incident in March, Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad was accused of assaulting an Air India staff, following which several airlines banned him from flying on their planes till he apologised.
Gaikwad later submitted a letter to the Aviation Minister to express ‘regret’, after which AI revoked the ban, followed by the Federation of Indian Airlines and other private airlines also lifting the ban.
Following Gaikwad’s incident, the Civil Aviation Ministry last month released the draft rules for a national ‘no-fly list’ that bans unruly passengers from domestic air travel.
The final guidelines are expected to be released by this June-end.