New Delhi | Aviation security watchdog BCAS has issued show cause notices to IndiGo and Mumbai airport operator MIAL over the incident of passengers having food on the airport tarmac on Sunday, according to official sources.
Many passengers rushed out of an IndiGo aircraft at the Mumbai airport, sat on the tarmac, and some were also seen having food there as soon as their diverted Goa-Delhi flight landed after a long delay on Sunday.
Both IndiGo and MIAL were not proactive in anticipating the situation and making the appropriate facilitation arrangements for passengers at the airport, as per the notices issued by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).
The notices have been sent for passenger mistreatment, they added.
The sources said the aircraft was allotted a remote bay C-33 instead of a Contact Stand, an aircraft parking stand that is suitable for walking passengers to and from an aircraft from an allocated boarding gate. This further added to passenger woes and deprived them the opportunity to avail basic facilities like rest rooms and refreshments at the terminal, they added.
Such a situation, the sources said, resulted in an unfavourable, unacceptable experience for the tired and harassed passengers.
The flight operation was planned and executed without taking passenger convenience, laid down security norms and the operational issues into account, they added.
After a video of passengers eating on the tarmac at Mumbai airport went viral on social media on Monday, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia held a meeting with all ministry officials at around 12.30 am on Tuesday, the sources said.
In the early hours of Tuesday, BCAS issued show cause notices to IndiGo and MIAL, they added.
IndiGo and MIAL have been asked to respond to the show cause notices on Tuesday itself.
Regarding IndiGo, the sources said the show cause notice has been issued since the airline failed to observe due aviation security procedures in respect of the flight 6E 2195, which landed at the Mumbai airport at 23.21 pm on Sunday due to diversion.
As per the notice, IndiGo allowed disembarkation of passengers from the flight on to the apron and then boarded them on to flight 6E 2091 on Monday at the airport, without following the procedure of security screening.
Also, the incident was not reported to BCAS by the airline, the sources said.
In a statement, IndiGo said it has already initiated an internal enquiry to address the issue and will be responding to the show cause notice as per protocol.
With respect to the Mumbai airport, the show cause notice has been issued for failure to report an incident in respect of the particular flight which landed at the Mumbai Airport.
Mumbai airport is operated by the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL).
There were no immediate comment from MIAL on the show cause notice.
"IndiGo flight 6E 2195 (Goa to Delhi) was diverted due to unfavourable weather conditions. As the flight was already significantly delayed in Goa, passengers were irate and rushed out of the aircraft as soon as the step ladder was connected," a MIAL spokesperson said in a statement on Monday.
According to the spokesperson, the airport operator in coordination with CISF QRT cordoned off the passengers into a safety zone as "passengers refused to get into the airline coach and proceed to the terminal building".
Further, the spokesperson had said the passengers were kept under strict watch of the airline authorities and security until further actions were taken.
In a statement on Monday, an IndiGo spokesperson said the flight was diverted to Mumbai due to low visibility conditions in Delhi.
"We sincerely apologise to our customers and are currently looking into the incident. We will take necessary steps to avoid any such instances in the future," the spokesperson had said.