The aviation watchdog DGCA fined Air India ₹30 lakh for a wheelchair incident at the Mumbai airport that involved an 80-year-old passenger.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has fined Air India ₹30 lakhs for failing to provide a wheelchair for an 80-year-old customer who collapsed and died while going from the airplane to the Mumbai airport terminal on February 16.

According to accounts, an octogenarian Air India passenger asked for a wheelchair at the Mumbai airport. However, he elected to walk when he was ordered to wait owing to the high demand for wheelchairs, and he died after falling during the immigration process.

The event occurred at the airport on February 12, after the passenger landed on an Air India flight from New York.

According to Mint, “Air India did not inform about any action taken by the airline against the erring employee(s), and the airline also failed to submit any corrective actions taken to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future,” a spokesperson for the DGCA said.

Earlier this month, the DGCA issued a show cause notice to the airline, which responded on February 20.

The airline stated that the elderly passenger preferred to walk beside his wife, who was also in a wheelchair, rather than wait for another wheelchair.

“All airlines have also been advised to guarantee that a sufficient quantity of wheelchairs are accessible for travelers who need assistance boarding or alighting from the aircraft during their trip,” the DGCA stated, according to Mint.

In a statement issued on Friday, Air India stated that due to the high demand for wheelchairs, the passenger was asked to wait for an airline staff-assisted wheelchair, but he chose to walk alongside his spouse.

“In an unfortunate incident, one of our guests flying from New York to Mumbai on February 12, fell ill while proceeding to clear immigration with his wife, who was in a wheelchair,” Air India said in a statement.

According to the airport doctor who treated him after he became ill, the passenger was promptly sent to the hospital, where he was proclaimed dead.

According to Air India, it is in frequent contact with grieving family members, granting required help, and it has a clearly stated policy of providing wheelchair assistance to all passengers who pre-book the service.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai airport experienced reduced airplane arrival delays as a result of recent initiatives to alleviate congestion and delays, providing relief to thousands of passengers who travel through India’s second-busiest airport on a daily basis.