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DGCA’s New Rule on In-flight Alcohol: How Much is Too Much for Passengers?

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Alcohol in Flight: Understanding DGCA’s Recent Update

Addressing In-Flight Alcohol Consumption Concerns

In recent years, incidents involving unruly passengers under the influence of alcohol aboard flights have raised significant concerns within the aviation industry. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in India has recently made a substantial update regarding the serving of alcohol on flights, shedding light on the maximum permissible limit and the responsibilities of airline companies in ensuring passenger safety and well-being.

The Background: Events Leading to the DGCA’s Intervention

In late 2022, Air India encountered distressing incidents during two of its flights, where individuals allegedly intoxicated engaged in disruptive behavior, including urinating onboard. Following these events, a 72-year-old woman filed a petition in the Supreme Court, urging immediate action to address such occurrences and emphasizing the need for stringent regulations to prevent unruly behavior stemming from alcohol consumption.

DGCA’s Response: A Step Towards Ensuring Passenger Safety

In response to the petition and concerns raised by various stakeholders, the DGCA provided insights into existing aviation requirements for dealing with unruly passengers. Referring to the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR), the DGCA stated that it is at the discretion of each airline to formulate policies regarding alcohol service to prevent passengers from being intoxicated and posing a risk of disruption.

Insights from DGCA’s Communication

According to reports, the DGCA highlighted the importance of addressing unruly behavior by passengers, stating that provisions exist within aviation regulations to handle such situations effectively. With reference to section 4.3 of the CAR, the DGCA emphasized that it is incumbent upon airlines to develop policies to mitigate the risk of passengers becoming intoxicated and potentially disruptive during flights.

Petitioner’s Demands: Advocating for Zero Tolerance Policies

The petitioner’s plea to the Supreme Court underscored the necessity for DGCA to instruct airlines to implement ‘zero tolerance’ SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and regulations against uncontrollable/disruptive behavior during flights. This plea prompted the DGCA to file a response affidavit during the court proceedings.

Allegations Against Air India: A Serious Accusation

The petitioner leveled serious accusations against Air India, alleging negligence on the part of crew members in handling sensitive issues. She claimed that the crew initially served excessive alcoholic beverages to the co-passenger in question and later pressured her to settle the matter through compromise after the altercation. Furthermore, she criticized the airline’s failure to promptly report the incident to the police.

 Striving for Safe and Orderly Air Travel

In conclusion, the DGCA’s recent update regarding alcohol consumption on flights reflects a concerted effort to address safety concerns and maintain order within the aviation sector. While the responsibility primarily falls upon airlines to implement and enforce appropriate measures, collaboration with regulatory bodies and adherence to established protocols are essential in ensuring a safe and pleasant travel experience for all passengers.