India’s civil aviation authority on Friday fined a domestic airline one million rupees ($12,250) after one of its flights took off with a busload of passengers still on the tarmac.
The Go First flight departed for New Delhi from Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru on January 9, leaving behind 55 people in one of the four buses used to take passengers to the aircraft.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation sought a report from Go First after some of the passengers criticised the airline on social media, saying they had boarding passes and their bags were checked-in. They said they were made to wait for four hours for a replacement flight.
On Friday, the DGCA said the airline failed to ensure adequate ground handling arrangements and imposed a fine of one million rupees.
"Perusal of the reply of Go First reveals that there was improper communication and co-ordination between terminal co-ordinator, commercial staff and crew regarding boarding of passengers in the aircraft,” it said.
"The airline failed to ensure adequate arrangement for ground handling, preparation of load and trim sheet, flight dispatch and passenger/cargo handling."
The incident is one of a series of incidents involving India's aviation industry.
On January 19, 30 passengers were left stranded at Amritsar airport when a Singapore-based airline took off ahead of the scheduled time after a mix-up by a travel company.
The DGCA has also launched an investigation after a parliamentarian from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party allegedly opened the emergency door of a plane while it was taxiing on January 18. The passengers were evacuated from the plane and the flight was delayed by several hours.
Earlier this month, two separate cases emerged of male passengers allegedly urinating on women in the business class sections of Air India flights.
One passenger was arrested after urinating on a woman, 70, on a flight from New York to Delhi in November.
He was also sacked from his job as vice president of India at Wells Fargo, an American multinational financial company.
In the second incident, on a Paris to Delhi flight on December 6, the man was taken into custody on arrival in the Indian capital.
He was later released by federal police after submitting a written apology and reaching an understanding with the passenger.