SpiceJet probes offloading of disabled woman

New Delhi: No-frill carrier SpiceJet has begun an enquiry into an incident in which a differently-abled woman was off-loaded from its Kolkata-Mumbai flight yesterday after the crew claimed it was not safe to have her on board.

The airline, which expressed regret at the incident, said, "We are investigating the matter internally and action will be taken" in the matter in which Jeeja Ghosh, a 42-year- old teacher at Kolkata's Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy, was offloaded after she had boarded the flight.

Ghosh was to fly to Goa to attend a conference and to deliver a lecture on bringing the differently-abled to the mainstream.

Expressing concern over the incident, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told reporters here, "We will ask SpiceJet and see what action they take against their pilot."

Under the existing Civil Aviation Rules set by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), there are detailed guideline entitled 'Carriage by Air of Persons with Disability and/or Persons with Reduced Mobility' that came in to effect in May 2008.

This rule specifically states that "no airline shall refuse to carry persons with disability or persons with reduced mobility and their assistive aids/devices, escorts and guide dogs including their presence in the cabin, provided such persons or their representatives, at the time of booking and/or check-in for travel, inform the airlines of their requirement."