Shiv Sena Member of Parliament, Ravindra Gaikwad, in the news for slapping an Air India employee with his slippers, may be permanently barred from flying on the country's national carrier. The Osmanabad MP has refused to apologise for his behaviour. According to latest reports, Air India has cancelled Gaikwad's return ticket from Delhi to Pune.
Following this, IndiGo too canceled Gaikwad's ticket. The MP was booked on a 5pm flight, but the airline, which along with other private carriers has barred Gaikwad from flying with them, ha cancelled the ticket.
News agency PTI reported earlier today that the Federation of Indian Airlines, an industry body representing India's scheduled airline carriers, has blacklisted Gaikwad. The FIA counts Jet Airways, IndiGo, Go Air, SpiceJet and JetLite as its members.
"Air India and FIA member airlines have decided to ban this Member of Parliament from flying on all our flights with immediate effect," FIA Director Ujjwal Dey, said in a statement.
Air India, meanwhile, has been mulling establishing a no-fly list of passengers with a history of bad behaviour while flying on the airline. Once implemented, Gaikwad, who has remained defiant about the incident while admitting to assaulting the AI employee, would be on the list.
IndiGo and SpiceJet, meanwhile, have lent support to the idea of forming a nationwide no-fly list. "SpiceJet supports a no-fly list to bar unruly flyers who are a safety hazard for not just the crew but even the traveling public. The government needs to act on this soon," SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh said.
"In the interest of the safety and security of our colleagues and other customers we also propose the promulgation of a "no fly" list which shall include the names of all unruly passengers," Dey said in the FIA statement.
'WILL NOT APOLOGISE'
Gaikwad, in an interview with India Today, remained unapologetic about the incident, saying he is not in the wrong. "I do not regret (beating up the employee) and I will not apologise," Gaikwad said.
He went on to dare Air India to blacklist from flying on the airline, adding that if AI employees misbehaved with him again in the future, he will repeat his actions.
The Shiv Sena, meanwhile, has asked Gaikwad to explain his actions.
The incident took place Thursday at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International airport on Air India flight AI 852 after it reached the national capital from Pune.
Gaikwad got into an argument with the flight's staff over not being given a business class seat, despite having a ticket for the same.
The MP refused to leave the aircraft, which was on the tarmac and which had to leave for Goa, until senior airline officials met him.
Finally, after intervention from the ground staff, Gaikwad agreed to deboard the plane. He, however, got into an argument 61-year-old Surendra Kundu, an Air India customer services officer, at the arrival gate.
On being told by Kundu that Gaikwad, being an elected representative, should not behave in this manner, the MP got agitated and started slapping Kundu with his slippers.
Later in the day, when questioned by the media, the unrepentant Gaikwad boasted about how he knows how to 'fix' people's ego and said that he had hit Kundu not once, but "25 times".
OLD VIDEO SURFACES
Meanwhile, a new video has surfaced showing Gaikwad scolding DSP of Osmnabad, the MP's constituency, over a case involving missing Shiv Sena workers.
The MP can be heard shouting at the DSP, Chandrakant Khandvi, in Marathi, asking him to explain why the case is unsolved and questioning the need for a written complaint.
The video depicts events from March 21, just two days before Gaikwad got into the scuffle with the AI
(With inputs from Virendrasingh S Ghunavat and Ashok Singhal)