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Airlines can't refuse to fly specially-abled without consulting doctor: DGCA

New Delhi: Airlines will soon be unable to deny boarding to the specially-abled on their own. They will, instead, require medical advice to do so.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday moved to amend its rules regarding "carriage by air persons with disability and/or persons with reduced mobility", within a month of the public outrage caused by Indi-Go disallowing a divayang child to board a Ranchi-Hyderabad flight on May 7, 2022. 
"Airline(s) shall not refuse carriage of any person on the basis of disability. However, in case an airline perceives that the health of such a passenger may deteriorate in-flight, the said passenger will have to be examined by a doctor, who shall categorically state the medical condition and whether the passenger is fit to fly or not. After obtaining the medical opinion, the airline shall take the appropriate call," the regulator has sought to add this clause to the rule now. Public comments will be sought on this amendment and the final rule will be enacted within two months after taking the same into consideration. DGCA chief Arun Kumar had on May 28, while levying a penalty of Rs 5 lakh on IndiGo for its "deficient" handling of a Hyderabad-bound special child at Ranchi, vowed to change the protocol for airlines to judge whether a specially-abled person should be denied boarding.
At the moment, this job is done by ground staffers. Faulting IndiGo, the regulator had said: "....the handling of the special child by IndiGo ground staff (at Ranchi) was deficient and ended up exacerbating the situation. A more compassionate handling would have smoothened the nerves, calmed the child and would have obviated the need for the extreme step resulting in denied coarding to the passengers.... Airlines should also revisit their standard operating procedures and training processes for dealing with such cases, in order to bring a more humane touch."

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