Bureaucrat accuses British Airways of racial discrimination: Suresh Prabhu directs DGCA to obtain report from airline on incident

Civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu said on Thursday that a probe has been ordered into a controversy involving a senior bureaucrat and his family being allegedly deplaned from a British Airways flight minutes before it was scheduled to take off.


Prabhu tweeted that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, a regulatory body on civil aviation has been directed to obtain a report from British Airways on the issue. The minister's statement comes six days after the senior bureaucrat wrote a formal letter to the minister detailing the incident and behaviour of the flight crew towards him and his family.

Bureaucrat accuses British Airways of racial discrimination: Suresh Prabhu directs DGCA to obtain report from airline on incident

File image of Suresh Prabhu. PTI

The bureaucrat, in a letter dated 3 August, had alleged that another Indian family sitting behind them, was also offloaded as they offered biscuits to their child to pacify him. The incident is said to have happened on 23 July.

The bureaucrat alleged that the crew got the plane (BA 8495) to return to the tarmac, where the security personnel took their boarding passes away. The customer care service manager did not give reasons for offloading them, nor did the management take action against the crew despite a complaint, he claimed. "We had to make our own arrangements for staying and travelling to Berlin the next day by paying a very hefty amount," he said, adding that the other Indian family was given tickets for a flight the next day, without any accommodation though. The bureaucrat is a joint secretary-level officer in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Narrating his family's ordeal in the two-page letter to Prabhu, the officer demanded a thorough investigation and strictest possible action against the British Airways staff. He said while his wife managed to calm their son, a crew member approached them and started scolding the boy, asking him to get back to his seat.

A British Airways official said, "We take such claims very seriously and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We have started a full investigation and are in contact with the customer."

British Airways has commented on the incident by saying, “It is a safety requirement for all airlines that passengers are seated and have their seatbelt fastened for take-off. We are investigating the complaint and will liaise with our customer.”

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Aug 09, 2018 18:18:44 IST

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