DGCA Amends Rules, Says Airlines Can’t Deny Boarding To Specially-Abled Without Doctor’s Opinion

In a significant step, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday said that if an airline feels a specially-abled passenger’s health may deteriorate during a flight and he/she is not in a position to fly, the company must consult a doctor at the airport and take an “appropriate decision” on whether boarding should be denied to the passenger or not, the PTI reported.

According to the report, the DGCA in its statement said if the airline then decides to deny boarding to the disabled flyer, it will have to immediately inform the passenger in writing and mention the reasons in that note.

The aviation regulator had proposed the aforementioned regulations on June 3, six days after it had imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on IndiGo for denying boarding to a disabled boy at Ranchi airport on May 7. IndiGo had on May 9 said the boy was denied permission to board the Ranchi-Hyderabad flight as he was visibly in panic. After the boy was prohibited from boarding, his parents also decided not to fly.

The DGCA had asked the public to send their comments on the proposed amendments by July 2. The regulator said it has amended its regulations to improve the accessibility of boarding and flying for disabled people and airlines must not refuse boarding to any flyers on the basis of disability or reduced mobility.

“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 in person – who shall in his/her opinion, categorically state the medical condition and whether the passenger is fit to fly or not,” the amended regulations mentioned.

Domestic air traffic

Meanwhile, a data shared by the DGCA showed that around 1.05 crore flyers travelled by air in June in the domestic sector, nearly 12.5 per cent lower than the 1.2 crore passengers travelled in May.

In its month statement, the DGCA revealed in total 5.72 crore people travelled on domestic flights in January-June period of 2022.

IndiGo carried 59.83 lakh passengers in June, a 56.8 per cent share of the domestic market, it mentioned.

SpiceJet flew 10.02 lakh passengers and Go First flew 9.99 lakh passengers in June this year. Vistara, Air India, AirAsia India, and Alliance Air carried 9.92 lakh, 7.83 lakh, 5.9 lakh, 1.2 lakh passengers, respectively, in June, the data said.

According to the DGCA data, SpiceJet clocked the highest occupancy rate or load factor, which is 84.1 per cent in June.

The occupancy rates for IndiGo, Vistara, Go First, Air India, and AirAsia India were 78.6 per cent, 83.8 per cent, 78.7 per cent, 75.4 per cent and 75.8 per cent, respectively, in June 2022.