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Statement from Campbell Wilson, CEO & Managing Director, Air India

Campbell Wilson, CEO & Managing Director, Air India.

Internal investigations into whether there were lapses by other staff are ongoing on aspects including the service of alcohol on flight, incident handling, complaint registration on board and grievance handling.

Air India is deeply concerned about the in-flight instances where customers have suffered due to the condemnable acts of their co-passengers on our aircraft. We regret and are pained about these experiences.

Air India acknowledges that it could have handled these matters better, both in the air and on the ground and is committed to taking action.

In the instance of the incident onboard AI102 operating between New York and Delhi on 26 November 2022:

  • Four cabin crew and one pilot have been issued show cause notices and de-rostered pending investigation.
  • Internal investigations into whether there were lapses by other staff are ongoing on aspects including the service of alcohol on flight, incident handling, complaint registration on board and grievance handling.

As a responsible airline brand, we have initiated the following steps with a view to materially strengthen and improve how such incidents would be addressed in future:

  • Commencing a comprehensive education program to strengthen crews’ awareness of and compliance with policies on the handling of incidents and unruly passengers, and to better equip crew to empathetically assist those affected.
  • Review of the airline policy on service of alcohol in flight
  • Review the meeting frequency of the DGCA-prescribed “Internal Committee”, tasked with assessing incidents, so that cases are assessed and decisions reached in a more timely manner.
  • To improve the robustness of its legacy incident reporting processes, which are presently paper-based and manual, Air India signed a Letter of Intent in December 2022 to acquire a license for the market-leading provider of incident management software, Coruson.
  • In addition to this state-of-the-art software, the airline is also in the process of deploying iPads to Pilots and Senior Cabin Crew. When used together, crew will be able to enter voyage and incident reports electronically, which will then be rapidly and automatically routed to relevant parties including, as required, the Regulator.

Air India also continues to provide support to the affected passengers and ensure their well-being. In this respect, Air India would like to highlight the ongoing assistance it has been providing the affected passenger. Upon receipt of the complaint on 27 November, Air India:

  • acknowledged receipt and commenced engaging in correspondence with the affected passenger’s family on 30 November;
  • commenced a refund of the ticket on 2 December, with receipt of funds acknowledged by the victim’s family on 16 December;
  • initiated the DGCA-prescribed “Internal Committee”, tasked with assessing incidents and which comprises a retired judge, a representative from a passengers’ association, and a representative from another Indian commercial airline, on 10 December. The file was passed to the Committee on 20 December and a 30-day interim travel ban imposed on the same date;
  • convened four meetings between senior Airline staff, the victim and her family on 20 December, 21 December, 26 December and 30 December 2022 to discuss actions being taken and the progress thereof. When the victim’s family requested that Air India lodge a police report during the meeting on 26 December, it did so on 28 December 2022.

Air India and its staff will continue to provide full cooperation to the affected passenger, and regulators and law enforcement authorities as they investigate these cases. We are committed to providing a safe environment for customers and crew, as well as operating in full compliance with all laws and regulations.

Statement from Mr. N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons
The incident on Air India flight AI102 on November 26th, 2022, has been a matter of personal anguish to me and my colleagues at Air India. Air India’s response should have been much swifter. We fell short of addressing this situation the way it should have been. The Tata Group and Air India stand by the safety and well-being of our passengers and crew with full conviction. We will review and repair every process to prevent or address any incidents of such unruly nature.

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