Wednesday, Aug 10, 2022

DGCA Issues Draft Rules On People With Disabilities Saying Boarding Can't Be Refused Boarding Without Medical Opinion

The DGCA has asked the public to send in their comments about the draft rules by July 2, after which it will issue the final rules.


The civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday issued draft rules for persons with disability, saying if an airline feels a specially abled passenger's health is likely to deteriorate during a flight, it must consult a doctor at the airport and take an "appropriate call" on whether boarding should be denied to the flyer or not.

The DGCA's draft rules come six days after it slapped a fine of Rs 5 lakh on IndiGo airline for stopping a specially-abled child from boarding a flight from Ranchi to Hyderabad last month.  

IndiGo had on May 9 said the boy was denied permission to board the flight as he was visibly in panic. His parents also decided not to enter the plane as their child was not allowed.

The draft rules state, "Airline shall not refuse carriage of any person on the basis of disability.

"However, in case, an airline perceives that the health of such a passenger may deteriorate in-flight, the said passenger will have to be examined by a doctor who shall categorically state the medical condition and whether the passenger is fit to fly or not. After obtaining the medical opinion, the airline shall take the appropriate call."

The regulator has asked the public to send in their comments about the draft rules by July 2, after which it will issue the final rules.

The DGCA had on May 28 said that in order to avoid IndiGo's Ranchi-like incidents, it would revisit its own regulations, making it mandatory for airlines to take the airport doctor's written opinion on the health of a passenger before making a decision to deny boarding.

IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta had on May 9 expressed regret over the incident and offered to buy an electric wheelchair for the specially abled child. He had said the airline staff took the best possible decision under difficult circumstances.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia had on May 9 said on Twitter that no human being should have to go through this and he himself was investigating the Ranchi incident. The account of the incident shared on social media went viral on the internet at the time and attracted widespread criticism over the airline's staff's behaviour.

(With PTI inputs)