Regulator fines Air India $37,000 for unruly passenger incident

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A bird flies over a logo of Air India airlines at the corporate headquarters in Mumbai

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -Air India has been fined 3 million Indian rupees ($37,000) for its handling of an unruly passenger on one of its flights in November, India’s aviation regulator said on Friday.

The licence of the pilot-in-command on the New York-New Delhi flight, where the incident took place, was also suspended for three months while a penalty of 300,000 rupees was imposed on Air India’s director-in-flight services, the regulator added in a statement.

The ruling on the Tata group-owned airline followed from an incident on a Nov. 26 flight in which a male passenger, while apparently inebriated, allegedly urinated on a female co-passenger.

Air India, on Friday, said it was studying the regulator’s order on the matter, but acknowledged that there were “gaps” in the airline’s internal reporting and assured the “relevant steps” were being taken to address them.

“We are also strengthening our crews’ awareness of and compliance with policies on the handling of incidents involving unruly passengers,” said a spokesperson.

India’s aviation regulator had earlier issued formal paperwork, named show cause notices, to some Air India staff, including the pilots and cabin crew of the flight involved in the incident, asking why enforcement action should not be taken against them.

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Air India had also issued show cause notices and de-rostered one pilot and four cabin crew as part of its investigation. The airline, on Thursday, also imposed a flying ban for four months on the passenger.

($1 = 81.1830 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Aditi Shah, Sakshi Dayal, and Tanvi Mehta; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly and Vin Shahrestani)

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