In a shocker, IndiGo ground staff manhandled and dragged a passenger at Delhi Airport on October 15 after a tiff. An airline employee who acted as a whistleblower, tried to intervene and shot a video of this violence and was sacked by the airline.
This drama unfolded on October 15 when 6E 487 flew into Delhi from Chennai. After alighting from the Airbus A-320, a passenger Rajiv Katiyal got into an argument with some ground staffers over some issue and he allegedly abused them. What sparked this argument has not be ascertained yet.
Two to three IndiGo ground staffers stopped Katyal from boarding the bus which was taking passengers to the terminal. They then manhandled him and dragged him on the tarmac for over a minute. An IndiGo employee, Montu Kalra, who was at the site tried to intervene and shot a video of his colleagues manhandling the passenger.
Instead of acting against the employees who thrashed passenger Katiyal, IndiGo sacked Kalra whose wife is pregnant and who needs the job desperately for his growing family.
On Tuesday when Kalra’s video became public and was aired by Times Group’s Times Now, Aviation minister Jayant spoke to IndiGo founder Rahul Bhatia and sought a detailed report on this issue. He said once the passenger lodges a criminal complaint (FIR) against the IndiGo employees who beat him up, they will lose their security clearance for airport passes and not be able to go there for their job. Effectively, the guilty employees of IndiGo will not be able to work in the aviation industry, Sinha said.
Sanjay Bhatia, IGI Airport DCP, confirmed receiving a PCR call regarding the tiff between the passenger and IndiGo employees on October 15. “Passenger Rajeev Katiyal, who had flown in from Chennai, was waiting for coach bus. There was altercation between IndiGo staffer Jubi Thomas and the passenger due to a misunderstanding. The matter was amicably sorted out and call was filed.”
IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh said in a statement: “I acknowledge the unpleasant experience our passenger went through, while engaging with our staff at Delhi airport. My personal apologies as this does not reflect our culture. I had personally spoken to the passenger and asked for an apology. At IndiGo, dignity of our passengers and staff is of utmost importance. Any act that compromises the dignity of either is of a serious concern to us. Under the code of conduct violation, this incident was investigated and stern action was taken against the staff. Once again my personal and sincere apologies to the affected passenger.”
The airline later added to this statement, saying: “Treating our customers with respect is core to what we do. Every day we take tens of thousands of happy customers to where they need to get to. It is for this reason that customers choose IndiGo more number of times than any other airline in the country. An incident happened in Delhi airport which is entirely the opposite of this and against what we stand for at IndiGo. The video of this incident came to our attention and we took action. Even while the investigation was going on we immediately suspended the involved employees. I personally spoke to the customer and apologised to him the very same day. Whatever may have been the provocation, our staff were completely out of line and didn’t follow laid down procedures…. Under the code of conduct violation, this incident was investigated by the designated committee and stern action was taken against the staff who was he main culprit by immediately terminating his employment. He was the one found instigating and aggravating the situation. He is the exact opposite of what IndiGo’s customer service aims to be.”