National ‘no-fly list’: Centre releases draft rules, proposes two-year ban on unruly passengers
The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation today released the draft rules for a no-fly list that will apply to all domestic airlines to deal with unruly passengers. The proposed rules empower airlines to ban an unruly passengers from flying on their airline for a period of three months to two years or more depending upon the gravity of the offence.
The ministry has put instances of unruly behavior into three categories. While level 1 will entail disruptive behavior like physical gestures etc., level 2 will include physically abusive behavior like pushing, kicking, sexual harassment etc. and level 3 life threatening behavior.
The punishment for the three levels of offences have also been categorized accordingly. While a level 1 offence carries a ban of three months, level 2 carries a six- month ban and a level three offence will bar a passenger from flying for a minimum period of 2 years.
The draft rules have been put up for comment by the public and the final rules will be notified by June end, the ministry said.
Addressing reporters, Civil Aviation Secretary RN Choubey clarified that airlines can ban passengers from flying immediately, but the passenger won’t come on national no-fly list immediately.
MoS Jayant SInha said that these rules only pertain to a passengers inclusion in the national no-fly list and any criminal offence that entails a police investigation or case will be carried out separately. The minister also said that the rules currently apply only to domestic carriers but international airlines were free to join in.
The push for creating an effective deterrent for unruly passengers was necessitated by the ugly episode of Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad hitting an Air India employee over being made to travel economy class on a business class ticket.
The new rules would eventually bar a passenger from flying if she/he has a record of misbehaving with airline staff or passengers onboard a flight or at an airport.
In a letter to Air India seeking lifting of the ban imposed on Shiv Sena MP Gaikwad, the Civil Aviation ministry had said that the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) were being amended by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to facilitate such a list.
The no-fly list has already been amended by Air India from the day Gaikwad hit 62-year-old R. Sukumar with his slipper.
Any disruption to a normal flying process will be considered to be an offence and could empower an airline to ban you from flying.
The government is also considering making some form of identification (Aadhaar or Passport number) mandatory while booking tickets.
The idea behind the move is that since the passenger already needs to furnish an ID at the time of entering an airport to establish that he is the bonafide passenger on whose name the ticket has been booked, there was no harm in seeking details of the same identification at the time of booking as well.