• Saturday, April 13, 2024


Indian airline fined £28,700 after passenger dies in airport

An 80-year-old passenger suffered cardiac arrest at the Mumbai airport after he decided to walk because no wheelchairs were available

Air India has launched a revamped loyalty programme that will be based on the amount the flyers spend on a ticket rather than the distance they fly. (Photo by NOAH SEELAM/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shajil Kumar

The Indian aviation regulator has fined Air India Rs 3 million (approximately £28,700) after an 80-year-old passenger suffered cardiac arrest at the Mumbai airport due to lapses in wheelchair service.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has also issued an advisory to all airlines to ensure adequate availability of wheelchairs for passengers requiring assistance.

Babu Patel and his wife Narmadaben (76) flew from New York to Mumbai on February 12 and had pre-booked for wheelchairs.

At Mumbai airport, the couple was asked to wait due to heavy demand for wheelchairs.

When Narmadaben got a wheelchair, Patel decided not to wait further and walked alongside her to the immigration counter.

He collapsed on his way and was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Following the incident, the DGCA issued a show-cause notice to Air India.

The National Human Rights Commission on February 20 took suo motu cognisance of the incident and asked the DGCA to submit a detailed report in four weeks.

The commission also sought details of compensation provided to Patel’s family.

The regulator said Air India has not taken any action against the erring employees and failed to submit any corrective action taken in this regard.

Air India said there was a heavy demand for wheelchairs and Patel was requested to wait for his turn. Once he took ill, the passenger was rushed to hospital.

The airline claimed it was in constant touch with the family members of the bereaved, and it has a clearly laid out wheelchair assistance policy.

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