IndiGo airlines has barred 9 mediapersons from boarding their flights for 15 days citing unruly behaviour when they were on the flight to Mumbai from Chandigarh carrying actor Kangana Ranaut as a passenger.
Ranaut was en route to Mumbai on September 9 amid an ongoing debate with the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government and a few mediapersons had accompanied her.
In videos that were shared online, reporters were seen speaking into their mics or taking mobile phone videos while reporting for their channels from the plane.
The videos showed the camera crew wearing face shields. However, the purpose of the face shield was defeated since they did not have masks on and everyone was jostling each other for a better view of Ranaut.
Following this incident, a DGCA official said they had sought a report from the airline. “We have seen some videos wherein mediapersons are standing too close to each other in the 6E264 flight on Wednesday. It seems to be a violation of safety and social distancing protocols for COVID-19.
“We have asked IndiGo to submit a report on this incident,” he added.
The media frenzy in Ranaut’s case intensified after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) demolished “illegal alterations” to her office in Mumbai when she was not in town.
According to the Civil Aviation Ministry’s social distancing rules issued on May 25, “on arrival at the destination, passengers should be allowed to exit (the plane) in a sequence so as to avoid any bunching”.
The DGCA also gave a strict warning and said it would suspend a scheduled flight for two weeks if anyone was found engaging in photography inside the plane, following the chaos that ensued when Ranaut was travelling to Mumbai from Chandigarh.
“It has been decided that from now on, in case any violation (photography) occurs on any scheduled passenger aircraft – the schedule of flight for that particular route shall be suspended for a period of two weeks from the next day (of the incident),” the DGCA order read.