Airline suspends crew for Sonu Nigam's mid-air 'concert'

Airline suspends crew for Sonu Nigam's mid-air 'concert'
A month after singer Sonu Nigam’s impromptu mid-air concert on a Jet Airways chartered flight, the airlines initiated disciplinary action and suspended five crew members.

The singer described the move as “real intolerance and utter nonsense” but aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), and the Civil Aviation Ministry defended the action.

The crew have been suspended for allowing Nigam to use the in-flight public address system on January 4 to sing a few Bollywood numbers. The video went viral on social media.

The film fraternity and social media reacted strongly against the punishment following a DGCA order. DGCA officials said they would ask the airline to sensitise crew members to not compromise on any safety measure.

“All cabin crew on the flight have been taken off flight duty for inquiry and corrective training to reinforce strict adherence to operating procedures,” Jet Airways said in a statement.

The officials made it clear that the in-flight public address system is required to be used only under certain conditions, but on the Jet Airways flight the system was used for singing, which is violation of procedures.

“Besides, the forward galley was unattended and there were number of passengers standing in aisle area. Since the aircraft was descending, standing passengers could have been hurt in case of a turbulence,” they said. The pilots were also not informed of the activity inside the cabin and the “act of cabin crew was not as per requirements.”

Nigam, however, said when he sang there were no announcements that needed to be made and the action against the cabin crew was “utter nonsense”.

“Pity there’s no one to question such harshness except the media perhaps. Indians need to loosen up. This act of lack of common sense, according to me, is real Intolerance,” he said in a statement.

“To suspend crew members for asking me to sing on the address system, when the seat belt signs were off, and no announcements were to be made, is nothing less than punishing someone for spreading happiness,” he added.

According to the Civil Aviation Requirement on training and licensing of cabin crew, “the public address system and inter-phone system are tools for relaying safety information.”

The officials said there were two incidents recently wherein passengers were hurt due to inflight turbulence when they were moving in the aisle when the aircraft was descending.

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