New Delhi [India], Apr. 7 (NAI): Air India has, once again refused to fly Shiv Sena Member of Parliament Ravindra Gaikwad by cancelling his tickets between Mumbai and Delhi for later this month.
This is the seventh attempt on the part of Gaikwad to book a flight on Air India, which barred him from flying after he assaulted an airline staffer.
Asserting that the travel ban against Gaikwad should not be lifted unless he tenders an 'unconditional apology' to Air India employees and undertakes in writing to abide by the Chicago and Tokyo Conventions and Rules of the Air and follow all cabin safety and public behaviour norms, the carrier in a letter said taking the saffron leader back on board would crush the morale of its workers and other domestic airlines.
Elucidating that blatant criminal actions of Gaikwad have not only been in poor taste, but are criminal acts of violence, All India Cabin Crew Association (AICCA) general secretary Sanjay Lazar in a letter to the Chairman and Managing Director of Air India, Ashwani Lohani, said that Gaikwad was and would continue to be a risk to flight safety and flight operations and to cabin crew safety on board, and hence, the government must think long and hard about letting him back on.
Post keeping his stand in the Lok Sabha yesterday where he asserted that he would not apologise to the Air India employee, Gaikwad, later on Thursday, in a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, expressed "regrets" over the incident which courted controversy a month ago and said that he was clearly told this was a pre-requisite for him to fly again.
The letter claims the restriction on flying is preventing the "effective discharge of his duties and responsibilities." Upping the ante against the government, the BJP's alliance partner yesterday also threatened to boycott the meeting convened by the NDA if the ban on Gaikwad was not lifted by April 10.
Gaikwad, who was banned from flying after he assaulted an Air India staff, said that he had been provoked and alleged that the airlines staff misbehaved with him.
Speaking on the issue during Zero Hour, Gaikwad demanded the flying ban on him be lifted. He got support from other opposition parties. The Shiv Sena MP also said that he can apologise to the Parliament but will not apologise to the airline staffer.