A Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MP, JC Diwakar Reddy, created a hullabaloo on Thursday morning at the Visakhapatnam airport after allegedly being denied a boarding pass by IndiGo Airlines for arriving less than half-an-hour before the flight was about to take off, according to media reports. The airline later barred him from its flights in future.
IndiGo will not allow Reddy on its flights, a top airline official told PTI.
Reddy, a Lok Sabha MP from Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh, reached the airport 28 minutes before take-off, reported The Times of India. After reaching the airport 15 minutes late, Reddy sought to abuse parliamentary authority and attempted to coerce the officials to allow him to board the flight despite the boarding counter being closed. The flight 6E 608 was bound for Hyderabad. He got away with his actions as the airline agreed to accommodate him on the flight which got delayed beyond its departure time of 8.10 am.
As per norms laid out by the aviation regulator, airlines close check-in counters for all domestic fights 45 minutes prior to departure.
The Indian Express reported that a grainy video showing 73-year-old Reddy arguing with airline officials found its way online on Twitter.
— ANI (@ANI_news) June 15, 2017
After being denied a boarding pass, Reddy became restless and abusive and threw a tantrum.
According to Scroll.in, the politician entered a ticketing corner of IndiGo inside the airport and allegedly damaged furniture and a boarding pass printing machine.
When contacted by The New Indian Express, the Visakhapatnam airport director G Prakash Reddy said the incident was between IndiGo officials and Diwakar Reddy. He also added he was not aware of any damage to property.
Interestingly, Union civil aviation minister Ashok Ganapathi Raju, who is also from TDP was at the same airport in the VVIP lounge when the incident took place. Reddy is known to have visited the lounge to seek his help but the minister declined to interfere. However, Raju backed the lawmaker's actions.
According to NDTV, Raju said, "He reached the airport on time. Perhaps the flight was overbooked."
IndiGo released a statement saying, "We are investigating the matter and have no comments to offer till...we have completed a thorough investigation. Safety and security of our colleagues and customers is our highest priority," according to India Today.
Usually when VVIPs fly, they send their personal staff to collect the boarding pass on their behalf, which did not happen in this case, The Times of India reported.
It is not the first time that Reddy, who is well-known for his fiery temper, has been barred from boarding a flight. In October 2016, he reportedly arrived late at the Gannavaram Airport in Vijayawada and missed an Air India flight. He was caught on camera creating a ruckus in the Air India office and damaging furniture.
However, speaking to ANI, Reddy denied assaulting any IndiGo officials. He said:
Reddy's latest tantrum comes just two months after Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaekwad assaulted a 60-year-old Air India staffer with a slipper. He was furious for not being given a business-class seat even after being informed that the flight was all-economy before he boarded.
To combat such issues, the Ministry of Civil Aviation will be unveiling a "national no-fly list" by the end of June, according to The Indian Express, the list, which is still in drafting stages, will classify offences into three categories and offenders will be banned from flying for a minimum of three months.
With inputs from PTI
Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.
Updated Date: Jun 15, 2017 23:48:37 IST