New Delhi: In the wake of Air India mid-air urination incidents, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday issued an advisory to the head of operations of all scheduled airlines with regard to handling unruly passenger on board and respective responsibilities as per the regulations. The guidelines come in the wake of back-to-back two urination incidents on Air India flights last year.
The DGCA said that it is observed that post holders, pilots and cabin crew members have failed to take appropriate actions regarding the incidents of unruly behaviour and inappropriate conduct by the passenger on board. In a statement, DGCA said, ‘In the recent past, DGCA has noticed a few incidents of unruly behaviour and inappropriate conduct by the passenger on board the aircraft during flight, wherein it is observed that post holders, pilots and cabin crew members have failed to take appropriate actions’.
The aviation regulatory body further said that non-action or inappropriate action or omission by the airlines towards such untoward incidents had tarnished the image of air travel in different segments of society. It said that the individual’s responsibility for the handling of the unruly passenger has been specified under various provisions of Aircraft Rules, 1937, DGCA regulations, circulars and manuals of airlines approved or accepted by DGCA. DGCA also highlight some points that come under the Aircraft Rules.
Highlighting the responsibilities of Pilots, the DGCA said the Pilot in command is responsible for the safety of the passenger and cargo carried and for the maintenance of flight discipline ‘Responsibilities of Pilots: Sub Rule (2) of Rule 141 of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 states that the Pilot in command is responsible for the safety of the passenger and cargo carried and for the maintenance of flight discipline and safety of the members of the crew in addition to being responsible for the operation and safety of the aircraft during flight’, it said.
It further said, ‘Para 4.11 of the CAR Section 3, Series M, Part VI makes the Pilot in command responsible for assessing the situation quickly if the cabin crew can control the situation and accordingly relay this information to the airline’s central control on the ground for further action. In addition, para 4.13 of the said CAR mandates that upon the landing of the aircraft, the airline representative shall lodge FIR with the concerned security agency at an aerodrome, to whom, the unruly passenger shall be handed over’. It said, further, detailed procedures for handling unruly passenger are enumerated under the relevant chapter of the approved Operations Manual (Part-A) of respective airlines.
Pointing out the responsibilities of Cabin Crews, the DGCA said that it is their responsibility of handling unruly passenger and to defuse a critical situation until it becomes clear. ‘Responsibilities of Cabin Crews: Para 4 7 of CAR Section 3. Series M. Part VI describes the responsibility of the cabin crew for handling unruly passenger and to defuse a critical situation until it becomes clear that there is no way to resolve it through verbal communication and written notice to passenger Applying restraining devices should be used when all conciliatory approaches have been exhausted Further para 4.9 of the said CAR makes cabin crew responsible for informing the passenger of the repercussion and consequences of such unruly behaviour’.
‘Further, detailed procedures for the handling of the unruly passenger are described under respective airline Safety and Emergency Procedure Manual and Quick Reference Handbook which is prepared based upon the guidelines given under Cabin Safety Circular 01/2016 and accepted by DGCA’, it added. Further underlining the responsibility of Director-in-flight Services, the DGCA said that they are responsible for reporting any such incident. ‘Responsibility of Director-in-flight Services (Cabin Safety): Para 4 13 & para 6 6 of the CAR Section 3. Series M. Part VI makes the nodal officer i.e. Director-in-flight Services responsible for reporting any such incident in the prescribed proforma given under Cabin safety circular 02/2010 to DGCA. Further detailed procedures are described under the Safety and Emergency Procedure Manual of respective airlines’, the regulatory body said.
It further advised all the heads of airlines to sensitize pilots, cabin crew and Director-in-flight Services of their respective airlines on the topic of handling unruly passenger through appropriate means under intimation to DGCA Any non-compliance towards applicable regulations shall be dealt with strictly and invite enforcement action.