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Don't sell more biz class tkts than no. of serviceable seats

New Delhi: Buying a business class ticket on Air India has meant travelling in economy class for many passengers, thanks to the airline's old fleet with poorly maintained cabins.
Following protests by a London-bound passenger at Amritsar over this issue last month, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) conducted a probe into the same where it found such complaints to be correct. The regulator has written to airline accountable manager Nipun Aggarwal to synchronise the tickets sold in premium classes with the number of serviceable seats in those cabins and avoid involuntary downgrades to economy. 
"We have warned AI from booking more business class passengers than serviceable seats available. Any violation will invite enforcement action," said a DGCA source. The regulator is learnt to have told Aggarwal in its order that seats not meeting design specifications are not just about comfort but a safety issue too.
An AI spokesperson said the airline "has always been conforming to the instructions and guidelines of he regulatory authority, DGCA, and will continue to ensure compliance to the same."
In its last few years as a cash-strapped government-owned airline, the Maharaja did not have the funds to maintain and/or modernise the passenger cabins of its aircraft. As a result, non-functional inflight entertainment screens, non-reclining seats, broken armrests and back-of-seat trays are common. The new owner, Tata Group, is on the verge of placing a massive order. But the replacement of the old fleet will take some years and till that happens, such issues may keep recurring.

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