Wheelchair Shortage: Air India Fined Rs 30 Lakh Over 80-Year-Old Passenger’s Death

New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday levied a fine of Rs 30 lakh on Air India over the death of an 80-year-old passenger recently due to a scarcity of wheelchairs at Mumbai airport.

The octogenarian, who flew on an Air India flight from New York on February 12, had to walk from the aircraft to the terminal building at Mumbai airport even though he had pre-booked a wheelchair.

As he walked alongside his wife, who used the only wheelchair which was available at that time, the elderly man collapsed on reaching the terminal. He was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead later.

Air India had explained by saying that due to heavy demand for wheelchairs, the passenger was requested to wait for an airline staff-assisted wheelchair, but he opted to walk along with his spouse.

Following the tragedy, DGCA issued a showcause notice to the airline for not complying with provisions of the ‘CAR SECTION 3, ‘M’, PART I on ‘Carriage by Air – Persons with Disability (Divyangjan) and/or Persons with Reduced Mobility’ which is a violation of Aircraft Rules, 1937.’

After reviewing Air India’s response, the regulator found the airline guilty and has imposed a fine of Rs 30 lakh.

DGCA has also issued an advisory to all airlines to ensure that an adequate number of wheelchairs are available for passengers who require assistance during embarking or disembarking from the aircraft during their journey.

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