Air India ‘Pee’ Case: Put Grounded Staff Back on Flights, Probe Panel Report Flawed, Says Cabin Crew Body 

All India Cabin Crew Association (AICCA) has written a letter demanding that the grounded Air India crew in connection with the ‘peeing’ case be put back on flights, calling the action against pilot in command an “unusually harsh punishment”. The cabin crew body also termed the findings of an internal committee “flawed”.

The cabin crew association said that there is no 9B seat in the business class compartment of the aircraft in question, contrary to internal committee’s finding that reportedly said accused Shankar Mishra stood at 9B and urinated on the complainant seated on 9A.

DGCA last week imposed a penalty of Rs 30 lakh on Air India as well as suspended for three months the license of the pilot-in-command of the New York-Delhi flight in which a person allegedly urinated on a female co-passenger.

The action against the airline, the cabin crew and pilot in command of the said flight came as the incident gained massive attention over a month after it actually took place. Several developments have taken since January 4, when the incident that took place on November 26 last year, came to fore.

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The All India Cabin Crew Association wrote on Monday in their letter, “The AICCA has perused the DGCA press note on the Al-102 (26/11/22) and noted with deep regret the unusually harsh punishment on the Pilot in Command. We also refer to certain Press reports that have appeared in Mumbai based business paper blaming our Crew for the events on Al-102 of 26/11/22 JFK-DEL before the NCW”.

“The AICCA is constrained to state that Cabin Crew did NOT depose before the NCW Committee and we regret the inference that Cabin Crew were allegedly found wanting, when the facts are completely the opposite,” the letter read.

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The mention of NCW seems to be referring to reports from last week that said the airline has acknowledged in an action taken report before the NCW that it failed to quickly report the incident to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and an internal committee dealing with unruly passenger behavior.

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The letter called findings of the internal committee looking into the matter “incredulous” and “flawed” and also pointed out that there is no 9B seat on the said aircraft as cited by the internal committee in its report. This is important to note here that even accused Shankar Mishra’s lawyers had called out the report for citing 9B seat, saying that the airline “erroneously” went on and created an “imaginary seat” as the business class of the aircraft in question only has 9A and 9C.

“Our attention is also drawn to the press reports & extracts of the Internal Complaints Committee which are incredulous and is flawed. There is no seat 9B on the Air India 777-300 ER and our (15) Crew & (4) Pilots did not personally appear before the ICC committee to depose before them either,” it read.

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“That report, which has been submitted to DGCA, also respectfully, seems based on wrong facts and incorrect assumptions and hence a nullity,” it further stated.

The letter went on to state that the “alleged incidents of Al-102 of 26/11/22 have received unparalleled attention in the global media over the last 15 days & we have witnessed an unprecedented trial by media of our Crew & Airline into the incident”.

“It must be noted our Crew filed detailed reports on the incident on landing, to those concerned and acted on instructions. The AICCA places on record that all the Crew & Pilots acted judiciously, within the law and in the best interests of the Safety, Security & well-being of all the passengers and Crew on the flight,” it stated, adding that this was based on the best evidence available into the alleged incident.

The entire facts are still not fully in the public domain yet and are different from the media narrative, the letter further read and demanded that the de-rostered crew members are rostered back on flights.

What Did the Internal Committee Say It Found

Last week, Air India banned Shankar Mishra, accused of urinating on a co-passenger in an inebriated state, from its flights for a duration of four months. This four-month ban, applicable from January 18, is over and above the one-month ban implemented by the airline on December 20.

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In its statement Air India said its independent three-member Internal Committee, under the Chairmanship of the former District Judge, has ‘concluded that Shankar Mishra is covered under the definition of ‘unruly passenger’, and is banned from flying for a period of four months as per the relevant provisions of the Civil Aviation Requirements”.

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The airline said it has shared a copy of the Internal Committee report with the DGCA and will also be intimating other airlines operating in the country.

Shankar Mishra’s Lawyers Disagree With ICC Findings: ‘Imaginary 9B Seat’

A day after the ban was imposed on Mishra, his legal team said that they disagreed with the committee’s findings, adding that they were already in the process of appealing this decision in accordance with the DGCA CAR for Unruly Passengers, news agency ANI had reported.

Mishra’s advocates – Ishanee Sharma and Akshat Bajpai – said, “We respect the authority and mandate of the Internal Inquiry Committee, we disagree with their findings and are already in the process of appealing this decision in accordance with the DGCA CAR for Unruly Passengers.”

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The lawyers also said that Air India, in its ‘faulty’ report, had made up things as they could not find an “adequate explanation” about the incident.

“When the Committee could not find an adequate explanation as to how the accused could have urinated on the complainant sitting on seat 9A without also affecting the passenger on seat 9C, it has erroneously gone on to assume that there was a seat 9B in the business class in the aircraft and imagined that the accused could have stood at this imaginary seat and urinated on the complainant on seat 9A. However, there is no seat 9B in the business class on the craft – only seats 9A and 9C,” the statement said.

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