Low-cost carrier IndiGo has been fined ₹ 1.2 crore by the Bureau Of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) after a viral video showed passengers eating on the tarmac as they waited for their delayed flight to take off.
The country’s aviation regulator, DGCA, also took cognisance of the video circulating on social media and ordered Mumbai Airport to pay ₹ 30 lakh for the violation.
On Tuesday, the Centre issued show-cause notices to IndiGo and Mumbai Airport over the video of passengers eating on the tarmac.
IndiGo has been asked to pay the amount – the highest penalty to be imposed on a carrier in recent times – within 30 days, the Bureau Of Civil Aviation Security, or BCAS, said in a statement.
Calling it a “violation of apron discipline”, the DGCA said, “It came to the notice of the DGCA through social media that on January 15, passengers of two IndiGo flights were on the apron for a considerable period at the CSMI Airport, Mumbai (MIAL). This is in violation of Para 5 of DGCA Air Safety circular 04 of 2007 which directs all agencies working at the airport not to permit walking on an active apron. The presence of passengers on the apron for a considerable period is in violation of apron discipline as it jeopardised the safety of the passengers and the aircraft.”
The regulator further said that the response it received on January 17 from MIAL was not satisfactory as it showed that the airport “failed to adhere to the safety requirements as laid down in the Air Safety Circular 04 of 2007”.
“DGCA, in view of the above violation, has taken enforcement action against MIAL and imposed a penalty of ₹ 30 lakh vide order dated 17.01.2024 under relevant regulations,” it added.
Meanwhile, Air India and SpiceJet have been fined by the regulator for poor preparedness leading to fog delays. The two airlines have been fined ₹ 30 lakh each for violation and non-compliance of Aircraft Rules, 1937, the DGCA said.
According to the statement, the DGCA holds meetings with airline operators and aerodrome operators before the onset of fog season every year.
“The meeting to check preparedness for low visibility operations was held at DGCA HQs on November 6, 2023. In the meeting, instructions regarding rostering of CAT II/III and LVTO qualified pilots were issued to airline operators on low visibility operations and fog preparedness,” the regulator said.
“SpiceJet and Air India did not roster CAT II/III and LVTO-qualified pilots for some of the flights and thus failed to comply with the directions issued. This also constituted a violation of the relevant Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR),” the DGCA said, adding that it had analysed the flight delay/cancellation/diversion data submitted by the scheduled airlines for December 2023.
“Based on these violations and non-compliance with DGCA directives, show-cause notices were issued to SpiceJet and Air India on January 2… Both the airlines were imposed a fine of ₹ 30 lakh each for the violation and non-compliance under rule 133A of Aircraft Rules, 1937,” it added.
Fog delays that happen every winter took an unprecedented turn this year with visuals on social media showing people sitting in groups and eating meals on the tarmac, next to an aircraft.