Have more important national issues to discuss than Gaikwad: Praful Patel

Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], Apr. 7 (ANI): A day after Shiv Sena leader Ravindra Gaikwad issued an apology in the Parliament for thrashing an Air India employee, former civil aviation minister Praful Patel on Friday said that this matter must be put to rest as there are much more important national issues to discuss.

"The airline has the authority and there is a provision in the DGCA regulation to ban him. But I would suggest that since he apologised in the Parliament, the matter must be put to rest. This has been going on for many days. Is this the only issue of national importance to discuss?" Patel told ANI.

The feud between Gaikwad and Air India seems to be refusing to die down as the national carrier has yet again refused to fly the Shiv Sena leader and cancelled his tickets between Mumbai and Delhi for later this month.

This is the seventh attempt on Gaikwad's part to book a flight on Air India, which barred him from flying after he assaulted an airline staffer.

This came after Gaikwad refused to apologise to Air India and instead issued an apology in the Parliament yesterday.

Describing Gaikwad "a threat" to passengers and crew, All India Cabin Crew Association (AICCA) general secretary Sanjay Lazar today said the Shiv Sena leader would continue to remain on the no-fly list till he tenders an unconditional apology.

"Cabin crew is unsafe and so are the pilots. We would like to have protection, because this gentleman (Gaikwad) is a threat to flight safety. He has already endangered flight safety once and it will be a risk to other passengers to fly with him. Therefore our cabin crew are feeling unsafe and we would like to take appropriate steps on it," Lazar told ANI.

Yesterday, Gaikwad in a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju expressed "regrets" over the incident and said that he was clearly told this was a pre-requisite for him to fly again.

The letter claims the restriction on flying is preventing the "effective discharge of his duties and responsibilities." (ANI)