Continental Airlines apologises to Kalam on frisking issue


A P J Abdul Kalam

In its apology to Kalam for frisking him at the international airport here in breach of protocol, it said it did not intend to offend the former President or the sentiments of the people of the country.

"We have tendered a formal apology to Dr Kalam and we sincerely hope he will fly with us again," the airline said in a statement.


The statement comes in the backdrop of the uproar in Parliament yesterday over the frisking of the 77-year-old former President before he was to board a Newark -bound flight of the airline on April 21. The government had later registered an FIR against the "concerned staff" of the airline.

"Continental Airlines apologises to Dr Kalam for any misunderstanding and/or inconvenience related to the security screening on April 21," the statement said.

"Our intention was never to offend Dr Kalam or the sentiments of the people of India. Continental Airlines takes great pride and is honoured to have flown a respectable leader such as Kalam," it said.

The incident was condemned in Parliament where Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel had described the act of frisking Kalam, who is exempted from security checks, as "unpardonable" and assured "corrective action".

The Civil Aviation Ministry has ordered a probe into the incident involving the ground security staff of the airline which subjected Kalam to the security check.

The airline had yesterday implied that Kalam was not exempt from frisking before boarding the aircraft.

In today's statement, the airline said, it reiterates its commitment to comply with regulations mandated by local authorities (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security) as well as US authorities.

"While ensuring compliance with TSA (of the US) and BCAS requirements imposed on us, we sometimes encounter circumstances wherein TSA and BCAS regulations are not compatible.

"We hope the respective government authorities resolve these difference at the earliest in order to avoid any recurrence of this situation in the future," the statement said.

The airline said it is also formally addressing the queries raised in the show cause notice issues by BCAS.

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