DGCA oversteps its brief, issues passenger comfort circular

The Directorate General for Civil Aviation, which is India’s aviation regulator, does not have a clue of what it can and what it can’t do. As a result, people in their office think that they can regulate anything that has the word aviation in it, or air, or something like that. They’ve tried intervening in fare sales, airline pricing and so on. However, from the “About DGCA” page on their website, updated in September 2013, their key function is listed below as:

Directorate General of Civil Aviation is the regulatory body governing the safety aspects of civil aviation in India.

I consider that sorted then, about the real purpose of DGCA is to take care of aviation safety and that should be its domain. So, until it becomes the CAA and does not undo its downgrade to category II by the FAA, the key focus should be aviation standards.

Instead, it came out with a new circular on Monday, which details facilities that should be provided to passengers at airports. Have a go at this:

  • Airline/airport operator shall ensure provision of automated buggies free of charge for all senior citizens, expectant mothers and disabled passengers in the terminal building to facilitate their access to boarding gates located beyond reasonable walking distance at all airports having annual aircraft movements of 50,000 or more. This facility may be extended to other needy passengers on demand basis free of charge.
  • Airport operators shall provide small trolleys after security check for
    carriage of hand baggage (permitted as per regulation) up to the boarding gate.
  • Airport operator shall adequately display information regarding
    availability of automated buggies and small trolleys in the terminal building at prominent locations including dos and don’ts regarding the same.

Further, they’ve put penal provisions in place if ground staff do not behave politely with customers.

Now, to me, this clearly is a move by a confused DGCA trying to get their mojo back and overstepping their authority. They are trying to make their problem of receiving customer complaints someone else’s, but in the process forgetting the protocol would have been to have Airports Authority of India deal with it.

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