Rohit Mateti, the pilot-in-command of the IndiGo flight that Kunal Kamra was on board when he confronted Arnab Goswami about his style of journalism, has conveyed to the airlines management that he was “disheartened” with the sequence of events that took place in the matter. He has especially questioned why the carrier took action against the comedian without consulting him first, as protocol demanded.
He told PTI, “As captain of 6E5317 Mumbai-Lucknow flight on January 28, I do not find…events reportable in any way. Mr. Kamra’s behaviour, while unsavoury, was not qualifying of a level 1 unruly passenger. Indeed, we pilots can all attest to incidents similar and/or worse in nature that were not deemed unruly.”
“Furthermore, I was disheartened to learn that my airline has taken action in this case solely on the basis of social media posts, with no consultation whatsoever with the pilot in command. This is somewhat unprecedented in my nine years of airline flying. Moving forward, am I to understand that the bar for interpretation of a disruptive passenger is lower/different when it comes to high profile cases? I would like a clarification from the airline as this leaves a lot of room for ambiguity,” he added.
The statement by the Captain had been posted on Twitter, but the veracity of the same has not been independently verified.
Statement by the Captain of the flight clearly stating that @kunalkamra88 never endangered safety or disobeyed any instructions.
— Skipper (@FlyingMariner) January 30, 2020
On Thursday, IndiGo Airlines told PTI, “We have received the relevant statements and the internal committee has initiated the investigation regarding this incident.”
IndiGo statement: We have taken cognizance of the letter of the pilot, who was operating the flight on which Kunal Kamra and Arnab Goswami were traveling. We have received the relevant statements and the internal committee has initiated the investigation regarding this incident. pic.twitter.com/OhZV8PokTM
— ANI (@ANI) January 30, 2020
Post the Captain’ statement, Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Puri put out another statement with regards to the incident.
I had expressed my views with regard to the unruly behavior of a passenger on board @IndiGo6E flight.
I reiterate that Airlines must ensure”Zero Tolerance” for any activity which has the potential to jeopardize safety of Passengers in an Aircraft.
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) January 30, 2020
DGCA rules demand that after receiving a complaint, the internal committee formed by the airline must come up with a report of the incident within 30 days. The decision taken by the committee may be appealed against by the passenger at the court and an appellate body of the Civil Aviation Ministry. However, even before the pilot could submit his report, IndiGo had imposed a six month ban on Kamra. After Hardeep Puri’s first tweet on the matter, Kamra was banned indefinitely by Air India, SpiceJet and GoAir too.