New Delhi: On Friday, June 3, DGCA issued draft rules for persons with disability, saying if an airline feels a specially abled passenger’s health is likely to deteriorate during a flight, it must consult a doctor at the airport and take an “appropriate call” on whether boarding should be denied to the flyer or not. The regulator has asked the public to send in their comments about the draft rules by July 2, after which it will issue the final rules.
The proposal to issue new rules has come just six days after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said it has imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on IndiGo airline for denying boarding to a specially abled child at Ranchi airport on May 7.
The draft rules issued by the DGCA on Friday stated: “Airline shall not refuse carriage of any person on the basis of disability.” “However, in case, an airline perceives that the health of such a passenger may deteriorate in-flight, the said passenger will have to be examined by a doctor who shall categorically state the medical condition and whether the passenger is fit to fly or not. After obtaining the medical opinion, the airline shall take the appropriate call,” it mentioned.
On May 28, The DGCA had said that in order to avoid IndiGo’s Ranchi-like incidents, it would revisit its own regulations, making it mandatory for airlines to take the airport doctor’s written opinion on the health of a passenger before making a decision to deny boarding.
On May 9, After the incident, IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta had expressed regret and offered to buy an electric wheelchair for the specially-abled child. Dutta had said the airline staff took the best possible decision under difficult circumstances.
Taking to Twitter, On May 9, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia had said that no human being should have to go through this and he himself was investigating the Ranchi incident. The account of the incident shared on social media went viral on the internet at the time and attracted widespread criticism over the airline’s staff’s behaviour.