The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has suspended an IndiGo pilot accused for threatening a woman and her elderly mother over providing wheelchair assistance on a Chennai-Bengaluru flight last month. The decision was taken after examining the pilot’s response to a show cause notice issued soon after the incident.
“An investigation has revealed that the pilot in command misused his authority by intimidating and threatening the wheelchair-bound passenger and her attendant by saying that they will be handed over to the CISF and a police case will be registered against them for unruly behaviour,” a release issued by the aviation regulator read. The pilot’s flying licence has been suspended for a period of three months, it added.
On January 14, the pilot — identified as Jayakrishna — had allegedly verbally abused a journalist who sought wheelchair assistance for her 75-year-old mother, even threatening to get her detained for the night. “We will teach you some manners… will ensure you are detained and spend a night in jail,” he allegedly told the complainant, identified as Supriya Unni Nair.
Ms Nair described the disturbing incident in a series of tweets the morning after the incident, despite being threatened with “dire consequences” if she took the matter to social media.
“Your captain on 6E-806 from Chennai to Bengaluru on January 13, Jayakrishna, threatened and prevented me and my 75-year-old diabetic mom from disembarking… threatened to arrest us because we asked for wheelchair assistance,” she wrote, tagging IndiGo.
Ms Nair said she initially rang for assistance and, when it was not forthcoming, approached a flight attendant, who claimed a wheelchair could not be provided despite confirmation of the service being availed was printed on the ticket. At this point, the pilot came charging out and started shouting at her.
“Taken aback I tell him not to yell at me… then threat starts. The wheelchair guys arrive and he points at mom and says you’re not going anywhere… prevents wheelchair people from taking my mom out of the aircraft… says he will ensure we spend a night in jail,” she wrote.
The pilot’s rage-fueled tirade continued with more threats. “Shut up… Who do you think I am? I’ll get my CEO to make sure you spend a night in jail,” Ms Nair quoted him as saying.
The release issued by DGCA found most of the accusations made by the complainant to be true. “The investigation has further revealed that the pilot in command exhibited aggression towards the lady passengers in his dealings while disregarding the fact that the elderly passenger required wheelchair assistance,” it read, adding that Jayakrishna “further delayed matters” by demanding an apology letter from Ms Nair and her mother.