The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Saturday issued an order for commercial flights stating that violations of in-flight norms, including photography, will invite a suspension of that scheduled route for two weeks. The suspension would stay in place till the airline completes taking action against those violating these norms.
“In case of any violation of Rule 13 of Aircraft Rules 1937 on any passenger aircraft, the schedule of flight for that particular route shall be suspended for two weeks from the next day,” the DGCA statement read. The rule cited by DGCA, deals with conditions of photography and videography on board commercial passenger flights.
The aviation regulator added that despite these regulations, airlines have often failed to follow rules primarily due to lack of diligence on their part. “Needless to say that such deviations result in compromise in maintaining the highest standard of safety and therefore is not to be allowed,” the statement said.
The new guideline comes soon after an incident on board an Indigo flight recently involving actor Kangana Ranaut who was travelling from Chandigarh to Mumbai on Wednesday.
The DGCA has asked IndiGo to take “appropriate action” after the regulator found alleged violation of safety and social distancing protocols by the media on the airline’s Chandigarh-Mumbai flight that included Ranaut as a passenger.
“We have seen some videos wherein mediapersons are standing too close to each other on board the 6E264 flight on Wednesday. It seems to be a violation of safety and social distancing protocols,” a DGCA official said.
The aviation regulator cited multiple issues with the incident, prominent among them were related to photography on board in violation of Aircraft rules 13, visible violation of Covid-19 protocols and alleged unruly behaviour by a few passengers on board the flight.
According to the DGCA rules, an airline can put an “unruly passenger” on its “no-fly list” for a certain period of time after an internal enquiry.
A viral video of Wednesday’s incident showed that reporters and camerapersons of various television channels were jostling with each other near the front rows to get a comment from Ranaut after the plane landed at the Mumbai airport.
The video showed the actor sitting in one of the front rows. According to the video, Ranaut disembarked from the plane without giving any comment to the mediapersons on board.
The Shiv Sena, which heads the coalition government in Maharashtra and the actor had been engaged in a bitter war of words after she compared Mumbai to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and said she feared for her safety.