• Jayant Sinha seeks setting up platform to resolve complaints of air passengers

    In a move to empower air passengers Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha, has sought to set up a ‘warroom’ kind of model that focuses on resolution of passengers’ complaints as and when it reaches them through various modes, including Twitter. The idea was mooted by the minister in the introductory meeting of various departments held on Friday.

    “The ministry has started working on the idea. The model here cannot be the same as railways since there are private airlines involved,” said a senior aviation ministry official, who did not want to be identified.

    Sinha, who spent a day with a series of meetings with all departments under the aviation ministry, last week, suggested this during the presentations on the recently-cleared aviation policy and passenger centric initiatives. The minister suggested that the model could replicate the railways model — railways have used Twitter to resolve passenger complaints and improve services. The idea of providing a platform for resolution of complaints was also supported by aviation secretary RN Choubey, who was present in the meeting.

    Ministry officials, however, feel that the plan is easier said than done. “For railways, it is easier to resolve complaints since it is one entity. In our case, there are private airlines. These private airlines have their presence on social media, where they respond and resolve complaints. These will have to be worked out,” said the official quoted above.

    The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is likely to be the authority that will be asked to manage the complaints and suggestion since they have the technical wherewithal to resolve such issues.

    Analysts, however, were less enthused and said the government should rather work on ensuring that the passenger friendly initiatives announced by the government are implemented first.

    “Who will the government talk to or address its problems, if I have a complaint against a private airline? I do not think that a railway model can ever be implemented in aviation. The government should rather look at providing more teeth to the regulator (DGCA) and to passenger bodies like us,” said D Sudhakara Reddy, president of Air Passengers Association of India.

    Reddy added that the airlines have moved court opposing the government’s plan to penalise airlines in cases of denied boarding, delays and reduced excess baggage fee. “The government should focus on ensuring that these initiatives already announced is implemented,” he further said. Brad Richardson Authentic Jersey

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