New Delhi, Jan 8 (SocialNews.XYZ) Tata Sons Chairman N. Chandrasekaran on Sunday expressed anguish over the incident of a passenger urinating on a female co-passenger onboard an Air India New York-Delhi flight on November 26, 2022, saying that the airline fell short of addressing the situation and should have acted swiftly.
He said that the Tata Group and Air India will review processes to prevent any such incident in future.
"The incident on Air India flight AI102 on November 26, 2022, has been a matter of personal anguish to me and my colleagues at Air India," Chandrasekaran said in a statement on Sunday.
In his first reaction since the incident came to light, the Chairman of Tata Sons, which owns Air India, said: "Air India's response should have been much swifter. We fell short of addressing the situation, the way it should have been.
"Tata Group and Air India stand by the safety and well-being of our passengers and crew with full conviction. We will review and repair every process to prevent or address any incidents of such unruly nature."
Chandrasekaran's statement comes a day after Air India CEO and Managing Director Campbell Wilson had said that the airline could have handled the incident better, both in air and on the ground.
Campbell had said that Air India is deeply concerned about instances where customers have suffered due to the condemnable acts of their co-passengers on its aircraft.
Air India on Saturday had issued show cause notices and de-rostered four cabin crew and one pilot pending investigation.
The airline also initiated internal investigations into whether there were lapses by other staff on aspects including the service of alcohol on flight, incident handling, complaint registration on board, and grievance handling.
The airline on Saturday said that upon receipt of the complaint on November 27, Air India acknowledged receipt and commenced engaging in correspondence with the affected passenger's family on November 30, commenced a refund of the ticket on December 2, with receipt of funds acknowledged by the victim's family on December 16.
"Initiated the DGCA-prescribed 'Internal Committee', tasked with assessing incidents and which comprises a retired judge, a representative from a passengers' association, and a representative from another Indian commercial airline, on December 10. The file was passed to the Committee on December 20 and a 30-day interim travel ban was imposed on the same date," it added.
"Convened four meetings between senior Airline staff, the victim and her family on December 20, 21, 26, and 30 to discuss actions being taken and the progress thereof. When the victim's family requested that Air India lodge a police report during the meeting on December 26, it did so on December 28," said the airline.
Taking note of instances of unruly behaviour of air passengers where pilots and cabin crew members have failed to take appropriate actions, aviation regulator DGCA on Friday issued advisory, asking head of operations of the airlines to sensitise pilots, cabin crew, and director in-flight services of their respective airlines on the topic of handling of unruly passenger through appropriate means.
Last Thursday, the DGCA had said that the conduct of Air India was unprofessional and has led to a systemic failure in the case.
Observing that provisions related to handling of an unruly passenger on-board have not been complied with, it asked why enforcement action should not be taken against the executives concerned of Air India for dereliction of their regulatory obligations in the matter.
The regulator had issued show cause notices to senior Air India executives and pilots and cabin crew of the flight following receiving a report from the airline on the incident.