After South First report, Indigo, DGCA acknowledge air safety violation allegedly involving Tejasvi Surya

For over a month, neither the airline nor DGCA officially stated that a passenger had opened the emergency exit door on 10 December, 2022.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jan 17, 2023 | 6:05 PM Updated Jan 17, 2023 | 6:06 PM

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Neither the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) nor Indigo airlines had acknowledged a serious violation of air safety norms for over a month.

On Tuesday, hours after South First reported on the incident of the emergency exit door being opened, allegedly by BJP MP Tejasvi Surya, Indigo issued an official statement but withheld the name of the passenger.

“A passenger travelling on Flight 6E 7339 from Chennai to Tiruchirapalli on Dec 10, 2022, accidentally opened the emergency exit during the boarding process. The passenger immediately apologised for their action. As per SOPs, the incident was logged and the aircraft underwent mandatory engineering checks, which led to a delay in the flight’s departure,” a press statement from Indigo dated Tuesday, 17 January, stated.

It took the airline a whole month and seven days to officially acknowledge a grave violation of air safety norms aboard their aircraft.

Even as eyewitness to the incident, co-passengers on the flight, alleged that the passenger who opened the emergency exit door was BJP MP Tejasvi Surya, neither Indigo airlines nor DGCA revealed the name.

South First reached out to DGCA officials first on 16 January via phone. An email requesting information on the alleged breach was sent to the DG’s official mail id at 2.06 pm on 16 January and was followed up with several phone calls to multiple officials.

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While DGCA failed to respond to South First‘s queries, an official statement was issued to news agency acknowledging the incident.

“On Dec 10th, a passenger opened the emergency door creating a scare among passengers in IndiGo 6E flight 6E-7339 from Chennai to Trivandrum. The flight took off after pressurisation checks soon after. DGCA has ordered a probe into the matter: DGCA,” news agency ANI Tweeted, quoting DGCA officials.

In a correction Tweet later, it was clarified that the flight was from Chennai to Tiruchirappalli and not Trivandrum.

The DGCA, which had been mum about the incident since 10 December, too did not reveal the identity of the passenger in question. For more than a month the incident had been suppressed with no official statement or assurance of an inquiry.

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South First reached out to Tejasvi Surya, who had insisted that he would respond only after Indigo or DGCA issued an official statement, for a response but to no avail.

This report will be updated with the Bengaluru South MP and BJP Yuva Morcha president’s response, when it comes.

A passenger on-board the aircraft has alleged that the MP, travelling with BJP Tamil Nadu State unit Chief K Annamalai, unlocked the emergency exit lever and opened the door leading to a delay of more than two hours in the flight’s departure.