The regulator also ordered the airline to take “administrative action” against the friend-passenger traveling as service personnel (SOD), including “removal from any managerial function in the organization for a specified period”.
AI has been fined Rs 70 lakh by the DGCA in three separate cases in recent months. While accepting Friday’s order, AI said it “rejects the claim that no action was taken by (it) in response to the complaint” and said it initiated action as soon as it obtained the same .
“During the operations of (this) AI Flight 915 (Delhi-Dubai), the PIC allowed an AI SOD traveling as a passenger to enter the cockpit during the cruise, in violation of DGCA regulations. The Chief Executive Officer of Air India has received a complaint about it from one of the flight’s operating crew. However, the organization did not take timely corrective action despite this being a security sensitive breach. Anticipating a delayed response, the complainant approached the DGCA,” the regulator said in a statement.
An AI spokesperson said: “We acknowledge and accept the DGCA ruling. However, we reject the claim that Air India took no action in response to the complaint. There were a number of allegations that needed to be investigated with due process and confidentiality, and which began immediately after the complaint was filed.”
The DGCA has taken three-pronged action in the case of the friend in the cockpit. “AI was fined Rs 30 lakh for failing to address the sensitive issue of security promptly and effectively. The PIC’s pilot license was suspended for three months for misuse of its authority conferred by the 1937 Aviation Rules and allowing breach of applicable DGCA regulations. The co-driver has been admonished for not being assertive in preventing the violation,” the statement read. “AI has been instructed to take administrative action against the SOD/passenger, including removal from any managerial function in the organization for a specific period. “, he added.
In recent months, AI has received hefty fines in many cases. These include a Rs 30 lakh fine for failing to report an incident on 26 November 2022 in which a man in flight disengaged a female business class passenger on board New York-Delhi flight AI-102. He was then fined Rs 10 lakh for failing to report an incident on 6 December 2022 aboard Paris-Delhi flight AI-142 in which a flyer became loose on a vacant seat and on another passenger’s blanket when she was went to the bathroom.