20231902 air india
Air India submitted its response on February 20, in which the airline informed DGCA that the elderly passenger 'opted to walk' alongside his wife. Image Credit: Supplied

New Delhi: Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) imposed a fine of Rs 30 lakh (Dh132,883) on Air India after the airline was found to have not provided wheelchair assistance for an elderly passenger.

The 80-year-old passenger collapsed and died after walking from the plane to the terminal at Mumbai airport.

The incident occurred on February 12, after the arrival of Air India flight AI-116 from New York.

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Patel, accompanied by his 76-year-old spouse, Narmadaben Patel, had booked two wheelchairs for assistance. However, upon disembarkation, only one wheelchair was available, leaving Patel to walk so his wife could use the wheelchair

A senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official informed that the matter was examined and a Show Cause Notice was issued to Air India for not complying with the provisions of CAR SECTION 3, SERIES 'M', PART I on "Carriage by Air: Persons with Disability (Divyangjan) and/or Persons with Reduced Mobility," which is a violation of the Aircraft Rules, 1937.

Accordingly, a financial penalty of Rs 30 lakh was imposed on Air India as per Aircraft Rules, 1937, for violating the provisions of the aforementioned Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) regulations.

An advisory was issued to all airlines to ensure that an adequate number of wheelchairs are available for passengers who require assistance while embarking or disembarking from the aircraft during their journey.

Airline response

Air India submitted its response on February 20, in which the airline informed DGCA that the elderly passenger opted to walk alongside his wife, who was also in a wheelchair, rather than wait for another wheelchair.

The DGCA said that the airline failed to show compliance with the CAR as it did not provide a wheelchair to the elderly passenger.

According to DGCA, Air India did not inform about any action taken by the airline against the employees involved, and the authority added that the airline failed to submit any corrective actions taken to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future.