Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Thursday ordered an investigation after a video showing bodybuilder Bobby Kataria smoking on a SpiceJet flight surfaced on social media.
The video shows Kataria — who has 6.3 lakh followers on Instagram — lighting a cigarette on one of the back rows of a SpiceJet plane.
Passengers are not allowed to take lighter in the plane. Passengers are also not allowed to smoke in the plane.
SpiceJet said that the smoking incident took place in its Dubai-Delhi flight on January 20 when passengers were boarding the plane and the cabin crew members were busy with completing the on-boarding procedure.
After investigation, the airline had put the passenger on “no flying list” for 15 days in February, it mentioned.
As per the regulations of aviation regulator DGCA, an airline has the power to ban an “unruly” passenger for a certain period of time if he or she violates any rules.
When the video of this incident was posted on Twitter on Thursday, Scindia responded: “Investigating it. There will be no tolerance towards such hazardous behaviour.” Sources from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) said on Thursday that the video of this incident came to their knowledge in January this year and they had then written to the concerned airline and subsequently sent a complaint to the police in Gurugram.
“We understand the police filed a complaint against him there (in Gurugram),” one of the CISF source said.
In a statement, SpiceJet said: “This is with reference to a video on social media of a passenger smoking onboard a SpiceJet aircraft. The matter had been investigated thoroughly in January 2022 when the video was brought to our notice and a complaint had been filed by the airline with the Udyog Vihar Police Station in Gurugram.” The video, the investigation had revealed, was shot on January 20, 2022 while passengers were boarding flight SG 706 scheduled to fly from Dubai to Delhi, it said.
“The said passenger and his co-passengers shot the video on the 21st row when the cabin crew were occupied with completing the on-boarding procedure. None of the passengers or crew was aware of the act. The matter came to the airline’s notice on January 24, 2022 through social media posts,” it said.
“The matter was referred to the Internal Committee constituted as per the provisions of Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) on handling of unruly passengers (not consisting of any SpiceJet employee). The said passenger was put on a no flying list by the airline for 15 days in February 2022,” the carrier said.