After Shiv Sena MP assaults AI officer, 5 airlines ban him from flying

Ravindra Gaikwad remained unapologetic, claiming that the officer should apologise to him, and daring police to arrest him.

New Delhi: Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad was today barred from flying by four private Indian carriers after his brazen assault on an Air India officer.

The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), which has Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir as its members, has taken a strong view of the incident and accordingly taken a decision to bar Gaikwad from flying. A joint statement issued by all 3 airlines and Air India announced that Gaikwad had been banned.

The FIA will not allow the Sena MP to fly on its member carriers.

The MP's return ticket from Delhi to Pune has also been cancelled.

Air India said it has also written to the Shiv Sena communicating the decision to cancel the ticket. Shiv Sena Secretary Anil Desai told PTI that he has asked Gaikwad to change his travel plans as the party doesn't want the tensions to escalate.

Gaikwad was booked on Delhi to Pune flight AI 849 scheduled for departure at 4 PM today.

"We have intimated Shiv Sena that we can't fly Gaikwad on his return flight because our employees are agitated. He has assured us that the party will advise the MP not to fly Air India today," said an Air India source.

"Our airport employees have said that they won't attend to him and they won't let him enter. In order to avoid any violence, we have written to Shiv Sena," he added.

Gaikwad told TV channels this morning, "I am booked on a 4 PM flight to Pune. I will take that flight. How can they not let me travel when I have a booking and I am their passenger."

Desai, also an MP, said that he has "acceded" to Air India's request and has also asked Gaekwad to "change his travel plans".

"An Air India official called me that their staff is upset over the issue. I have acceded to their request by asking my MP not to go ahead with his plan to fly Air India today," said Desai.

"I have also asked him to change his travel plans. We don't intend to escalate the tension," he added.

Meanwhile, budget carrier IndiGo today said it will support any move which bars unruly passengers from flying, a day after Air India said it was mulling preparing a no-fly list for such people.

"We will support a no-fly list," IndiGo President and Whole Time Director Aditya Ghosh told PTI.

Yesterday Gaikwad had repeatedly hit a 60-year-old Air India officer with a sandal over being unable to travel business class despite having insisted on boarding an all-economy flight.

But Gaikwad remained unapologetic today, claiming that the officer should apologise to him, and daring police to arrest him.

The national carrier has filed two FIRs against the MP, while the Shiv Sena has sought an explanation from him.

( Source : PTI )
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