Airlines Cannot Refuse Boarding to Specially-Abled Passengers Without Seeking Medical Opinion – DGCA

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Following the incident at Ranchi Airport, where low-cost airline IndiGo refused boarding to a specially-abled passenger, the country's aviation safety regulator, the DGCA, has amended its rules to state that airlines cannot deny boarding to specially-abled passengers without first seeking medical advice on their fitness to fly.

IndiGo denied a specially-abled boy access to a Hyderabad-bound flight at Ranchi Airport last month, citing a potential threat to air safety. Following this, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) investigated the situation, and the airline was fined Rs 5 lakh for "insensitive handling" of the situation.

The DGCA has added a provision to the proposed modifications to the civil aviation requirement on "air carriage — persons with disability and/or restricted mobility," which now reads: “Airline shall not refuse carriage of any person on the basis of disability. However, in case, an airline perceives that the health of such a passenger may deteriorate in-flight, the said passenger will have to be examined by a Doctor- who shall categorically state the medical condition and whether the passenger is fit to fly or not. After obtaining the medical opinion, the Airline shall take the appropriate call”.

On May 28, the regulator announced that, in order to avoid such scenarios in the future, it will reassess its own laws, making it obligatory for airlines to obtain a written opinion from an airport doctor on a passenger's health before denying boarding.

Datchanapriya is a journalism and mass communication student from Chennai. Has always been passionate about writing and connecting with people.

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