On 8th September 2017, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (DGCA) announced the No-Fly List, where unruly passengers could be banned from flying for a span of three months to an unlimited period of time. According to the Civil Aviation Minister, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, this was done in order to “ ensure safety” and “ to check unruly and disruptive behavior on aircraft”.
The decision taken by the government, which will come into immediate effect was drafted in May following the demand of several airlines due to the disruptive behavior of several passengers, most of whom were high profile VVIP’s. One such incident involved Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who reportedly thrashed an Air India employee on March 2017, and had also proudly announced it on TV regarding his actions. TDP MP JC Diwarkar Reddy was also involved in a similar incident on June 2017, where he created a ruckus at the Visakhapatnam Airport.
Levels of Unruly Behaviour.
The duration of the prohibition on flying was determined by the level of severity of unruly behavior divided into three levels:
1) Three Month Ban: This involves mainly verbal assault, use of abusive language towards the flight crew or other passengers, or unruly inebriation.
2) Six Month Ban: This involves physical abusive behavior by the passengers such as hitting, pushing, kicking or inappropriate touching.
3) Unlimited Ban: This involves life threatening behavior by the passengers which could be violent murderous assault or even possible damage to the aircraft.
Enforcement of No-Fly List
An internal committee of the airline is to investigate the matter within 30 days following the report of the report of the Pilot-In-Command of the concerned airplane. In case the committee fails to come up with a conclusion within the 30 days time, the passenger will be free to fly within the same time period.
Once a passenger has been put on the No-Fly List by an airline, other carriers may decide to do the same as it is not mandatory for other airlines to ban the passenger. The passenger will be granted the right to appeal to an “appellate committee” within 60 days, but the case can be taken further up to the High Court as well if the passenger is not satisfied with the verdict.
No-Fly List in Other Countries
In the US, the No-Fly List is created and maintained by the Federal Government’s Terrorist Screening Center (TSC), which bans people from flying within, into and outside United States Airspace. The number of people enlisted in the No-Fly List grew considerably rolling the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on 2001. As of June 2016, the FBI enlisted around 81,000 names on the No-Fly List.