Air India bans Gaikwad, cancels ticket fearing backlash by employees

Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad was today barred from flying by four private Indian carriers after his brazen assault on an Air India officer.

Hitting out at Sukumar, Gaikwad reiterated that the Air India staffer "misbehaved" with him and said the footage of the CCTV camera installed in the aircraft concerned can be checked to verify "who was at fault".

The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) issued a statement on Friday saying that AI and the member airlines of the FIA that "includes IndiGo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and Go Air have made a decision to ban this MP from flying on all our flights with immediate effect".

Gaikwad allegedly bought a business class ticket but was given an economy seat, and he began complaining to attendants.

The police filed the FIR after a complaint by Air India and its staff member.

Gaikwad, however, refused to apologize for the assault on the officer as he does not believe "there is anything to repent about".

Air India had explained that the plane he had chosen to fly on was economy-only, and that the first-time MP from Maharashtra had refused to take a different flight.

While AI was yet to respond, Federation of Indian Airlines has blacklisted Gaikwad. While Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai said the party has sought an explanation, its spokesperson Sanjay Raut put the blame on Air India.

When he began to speak in Hindi, Gaikwad flared up and hit him.

"What did he say, that I hit him with my hand?"

The incident took place on Thursday morning after the Air India flight from Pune landed in Delhi at around 10.30am.

He said he would file a defamation case against the Air India CMD and its staffer if they "did not apologise".

Gaikwad's Shiv Sena party is known for its extremist views and is accused of promoting ethnic and religious intolerance. "He (R. Sukumar) should come and apologise".

Several politicians condemned the behaviour and going by this tweet from the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, justice may be waiting down the aisle.

But the Sena MP is not the only only to show such outright offensive and remorseless behaviour. "MPs should behave carefully and politely and at the same time other staff should also behave courteously", Mr. Kharge said.

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