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India: Parliamentary committee to look into airlines’ treatment of passengers

A Parliamentary committee is set to take a closer look into the “behavior of airline personnel towards passengers” especially after the controversial manhandling of a passenger by IndiGo Airlines staff last month.

The Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee of Transport, Tourism and Culture led by Trinamool Congress MP, Derek O’ Brien, has called on the Secretary of Ministry of Civil Aviation, along with representatives of Airports Authority of India, Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, for a meeting.

The panel has also requested public carrier Air India and private airlines, that include Indigo, to appear before it and explain their opinions on the issue.

Representatives from Jet Airways, Spicejet, Go Air, Vistara and Air Asia are also set to appear. The panel has asked for their views on passenger amenities and behavior of airline personnel towards passengers.

The panel is expected to review the issue thoroughly. The 31-member panel has 21 MPs.

An internal inquiry report conducted by IndiGo after the incident had claimed that the one to be blamed for the infamous incident was the “whistleblower,” who disseminated the said video.

After the much talked about Indigo incident, public carrier Air India had taken advantage and came out with a humorous photo that said, “we raise our hands only to say Namaste” – an apparent dig at the private airline.

Even lawmakers have not been immune to controversial incidents involving carriers. Last year, there was a huge hullaballoo when five airlines — Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet, Jet Airways and GoAir — banned Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad after he admitted to having hit an elderly Air India employee.

The issue led to a huge political uproar. Sena sided with Gaikwad, who eventually penned a letter to Civil Aviation Minister A Gajapati Raju, expressing regret but giving no apology for the incident.

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