IndiGo Airlines hit with $144,200 fine after passengers found eating on tarmac

India's aviation industry has been in the spotlight in recent weeks because of delays and cancellations

Arriving TLS after a test flight.
Powered by automated translation

India’s low-cost airline IndiGo has been fined 12 million rupees ($144,200) for jeopardising the safety of passengers who were seen eating meals on the tarmac at Mumbai airport during a flight delay.

A video went viral on social media this week, showing passengers eating on the tarmac next to an aircraft after their IndiGo flight from Goa to Delhi was diverted and landed in Mumbai after a long delay. The incident happened on January 14.

The aircraft was reportedly allotted a remote parking bay instead of one near the airport terminal, leading to frustration among passengers who had not yet been served refreshments.

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, the regulatory authority under the federal government, has imposed a fine of 12 million rupees against the airline. It has given it a month to pay the fine.

It has also imposed a penalty of six million rupees ($72,000) on Mumbai International Airport Limited for mismanagement.

Both IndiGo and the airport company failed to report the incident, the BCAS said.

The fines were imposed after the country’s aviation regulator DGCA was made aware of the video and called it a breach "of apron discipline".

The apron is the area where aircraft are parked, unloaded or loaded, refuelled, boarded or maintained.

The DGCA has also imposed a fine of three million rupees ($36,000) on Mial.

“This is in violation of Para 5 of DGCA Air Safety circular … which directs all agencies working at the airport not to permit walking on an active apron,” the DGCA said.

“The presence of passengers on the apron for a considerable period is in violation of apron discipline as it jeopardises the safety of the passengers and the aircraft."

The regulator has also fined two other airlines, Air India and SpiceJet, three million rupees each for poor preparedness during fog that led to delays.

The Indian aviation industry has been heavily scrutinised in recent weeks for widespread delays and cancellations that airlines said were caused by fog.

More than 300 flights have reportedly been cancelled since January 14, leaving more than 40,000 passengers stranded. The average delay was more than an hour.

More than 50 flights were cancelled, including international departures and arrivals, while 120 flights were delayed on Wednesday at Delhi’s international airport, as seen on the flight information display screens.

The aviation ministry has set up “war rooms” at six airports across the country to help facilitate the anxious passengers and address the situation.

Meanwhile, a Kuala Lumpur-bound international flight from Chennai city in southern India with 130 passengers and seven crew members onboard suffered a burst tyre while taxiing on Thursday.

The rear wheel of the Malaysian Airlines MH 181 flight burst when it was taxiing for take-off to the Malaysian capital at about 2.20pm, local media reports said.

All the passengers disembarked and were reportedly moved to hotels. The flight is expected to resume on Friday.

Updated: January 18, 2024, 11:09 AM