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HomeNationalAir India changed its alcohol policy after the Pagegate scandal. MIGMG News

Air India changed its alcohol policy after the Pagegate scandal. MIGMG News

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Air India says it has adjusted its in-flight alcohol service policy following an in-flight urination scandal that cost the carrier more than $40,000 in fines.

The incident, in which a drunken senior US bank executive was accused of urinating on a 72-year-old woman sitting in business class on a flight last year from New York to New Delhi, was dubbed “peegate” by local media.

The airline has faced severe criticism for its handling of the woman’s complaint and for allowing the banker, Indian national Shankar Mishra, to disembark normally when the plane landed.

But Air India defended itself in a statement on Tuesday, saying that “in the judgment of the crew, the alleged perpetrator did not pose a risk to the safety of the flight at any time”.

“The alleged perpetrator was calm, cooperative and pleaded not aware of the allegation.” The crew was not served excessive alcohol and did not appear in an intoxicated state in front of the crew,” the statement added.

The airline, however, admitted that it had not reported the incident, which took place on November 26, as required by India’s aviation regulator.

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) last week fined Air India three million rupees ($37,000) and the airline’s director of in-flight services an additional 300,000 rupees.

The pilot of the flight also had his license suspended for three months for “failure to perform his duties” to ensure safety and discipline.

The airline has since called the fine “excessive” and promised to help its staff appeal.

The DGCA on Tuesday imposed an additional penalty of one million rupees on the airline for failing to report two more incidents of unruly behavior by passengers on a separate flight from Paris to New Delhi on December 6.

On that occasion, an allegedly drunk passenger was found smoking in the toilet, while another relieved himself on the free seat and blanket of a female passenger, the regulator said.

“We have reviewed our existing in-flight alcohol service policy, taking into account the practices of other carriers and information from the US National Restaurant Association guidelines,” Air India said in a statement.

The airline will now adopt the NRA’s ‘traffic light’ system to train crew members to recognize and manage possible cases of intoxication, Air India said.

The incidents led to the former airline’s first major public relations crisis since its privatization last year.

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