Tata group-owned Air India has been slapped a fine of Rs. 10 lakh by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday for denying boarding to passengers who held a valid ticket and thereafter not providing mandatory compensation to them.
The DGCA in a statement said, " ...after going through AI submissions, as part of enforcement action, the competent authority has levied a penalty of Rs. 10 Lacs. In addition, the Airline has been advised to immediately put the systems in place to resolve the issue – failing which further action shall be taken by DGCA.”
DGCA said that after a series of checks and during surveillance at Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Delhi, there were specific instances, in the case of Air India – where the regulation is not being followed and therefore, a show-cause notice was issued to the airline and also a personal hearing was afforded.
"It appears that the Airline does not have a policy in this regard and is not paying any compensation to hapless passengers, whose numbers can be anybody’s guess. To say the least, it is a matter of serious concern and unacceptable," the statement said.
The aviation regulator also laid down conditions to be followed by airlines in the case of denied boarding to a passenger holding a valid ticket and having presented on time. They are as follows:
In case an airline is able to arrange an alternate flight for the said passenger within an hour, no compensation is to be paid. However, if the airline is able to provide the alternate arrangement within next 24 hours, a compensation up to Rs 10,000 is prescribed. For anything beyond 24 hours, compensation up to Rs 20,000 is laid down.
"Our stipulations on the subject are in sync with FAA and EASA and similar regulations is followed globally to accord appropriate respect to passenger rights," it noted.