Aviation regulator DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) has slammed Tata-owned Air India for alleged "unprofessional" conduct of the full-service carrier in dealing with the female passenger, who was allegedly urinated upon by a male co-traveller on a New York-Delhi flight on November 26, 2022.
"The conduct of the airline appears to be unprofessional, and has led to systemic failure," the DGCA said, while giving the airline two weeks time to submit its reply based on which further action will be taken.
The regulator issued show-cause notices to Air India's accountable manager, director (in-flight services), pilots, and cabin crew members of the flight on "why enforcement action should not be taken against them for dereliction of their regulatory obligations".
Air India has imposed a 30-day flying ban on the accused passenger and set up an internal committee to probe whether there were lapses on part of the crew in handling the situation.
Meanwhile, another episode of an inebriated male passenger peeing on the blanket of a woman has come to light. Air India has not issued any official clarification on the matter so far. The incident happened on Air India's Paris-Delhi flight 142 on December 6, around 10 days after the November 26 episode, but no action was taken against the accused after he gave a written apology, a news agency reported. The male passenger was reportedly detained for interrogation at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport after a complaint was lodged with the Air Traffic Control (ATC) by the airline crew. He was, however, released after he apologised to the woman and she refused to file an FIR.
Tata Group-owned Air India became the third largest domestic carrier with 9.1% market share in November 2022. The erstwhile national carrier flew 10.63 lakh domestic passengers in November. Vistara, a joint venture of the Tatas and Singapore Airlines, remained the second largest domestic airline. The full service carrier's market share rose slightly from 9.2% in October to 9.3% in November.
The market share of Air Asia, another Tata Sons-backed carrier, remained unchanged at 7.6% in November.
In November 2022, Tata Sons signed an agreement with Singapore Airlines (SIA) to merge Vistara with Air India. This is a part of the Tata group's strategy to consolidate its aviation businesses under one umbrella. Singapore Airlines, which owns a 49% stake in Tata-SIA Airlines, the owner of Vistara, will invest ₹2,058.5 crore in Air India.