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'Prominently Display Pet Carriage Policy on Website': DGCA tells Airlines

Currently, at least two Indian carriers—Air India and Akasa Air—permit passengers to carry pets onboard.

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India
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Aviation watchdog the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has advised airlines to make and prominently display on their websites the policy for carriage of pets on board aircraft.

Is there a global protocol on carriage of animals on flight? No, presently there is no global protocol on carriage of pets. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has not yet issued any guidelines with regard to carrying pets in passenger compartments.

Currently which airlines allow pets in India? Presently, at least two Indian carriers—Air India and Akasa Air—permit passengers to carry pets on board. SpiceJet allows passengers to carry pets in the cargo hold of domestic flights.

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Air India, in fact, was the first airline in India to allow domestic pets such as dogs, cats and birds on board in the cabin or as checked-in baggage "depending on the regulations of the country of destination", according to Business Standard.

Akasa Air, in October, announced that it would start allowing “domesticated dogs and cats” weighing up to 7 kg in the cabin with fliers from 1 November.

Other big airlines such as IndiGo (the airlines with the highest market share at 55.7 percent) do not permit animals on board as "there is no space to carry them," the airline told The Quint.

What about other countries? A senior DGCA official said that aviation safety regulators worldwide have not issued any specific policy for carriage of pets inside the cabin and they have allowed their airlines to develop respective procedures for the same.

In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) too has allowed its airlines to have their own respective policies for carriage of pets in the cabin.

"Similarly, in exercise of the powers conferred under Rule 24C of Aircraft Rules, 1937, DGCA has permitted the airlines to carry by air to, from and within India, animals, birds, and reptiles in an aircraft subject to the observance of the general conditions as specified in Aeronautical Information Chart (AIC) 9 of 1985," the DGCA said.

'Final responsibility of safety of flight with Pilot-In-Command': "Airlines are permitted to formulate their own rules for carriage of pets or live animals in the cabin as the final responsibility of safety of flight is with the pilot-in-command of the flight," said the DGCA.

Last month, Air India barred the pet of a family inside a flight in Bengaluru.

Sharing details of the incident, Sachin Shenoy, the owner of the dog said that the pet weighed 4.2 kg with its carrier bag.

He said that the airline staff told him that the commander of the flight was not okay with the pet being on board and refused permission.

In response to the incident, Air India tweeted, “The Commander of the flight was not fully satisfied with the cage and muzzle of the pet which is why he could not allow it to be carried in the cabin.”

“It’s never our intention to cause any inconvenience to our passengers,” the tweet said.

“Our laid-down Policy for the Carriage of Pets on Domestic Flights clearly mentions that pet carriage is subject to the approval of the commander of the flight.”

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