At a time when news about Indian air travellers is making headlines, another incident has come to the fore. This time, however, it involves the emergency door of a plane and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Tejasvi Surya.
What happened? As per the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), on 10 December, a passenger opened the emergency door of a grounded plane, creating a scare among passengers in IndiGo 6E flight 6E-7339 from Chennai to Tiruchirappalli.
Adding that the flight took off after pressurisation checks soon after, the DGCA has ordered a probe into the matter, news agency ANI reported.
What has IndiGo said? In a statement to the press on 17 January, IndiGo said:
"A passenger travelling on flight 6E-7339 from Chennai to Tiruchirapalli on 10 December 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."
Who Was This Passenger?
Co-passengers on the flight have alleged that it was BJP MP Tejasvi Surya who unlocked the emergency exit.
The first-time MP from Bengaluru South constituency is also the National president of the BJP Yuva Morcha, youth wing of the BJP.
Speaking to digital media site SouthFirst, a passenger -- who did not want to be named -- revealed what allegedly transpired on the flight:
“Once all the passengers had been boarded, BJP Tamil Nadu President K Annamalai and Tejasvi Surya entered the aircraft. They sat in the first row emergency exit seats on the right... The cabin crew gave them a special briefing meant for the emergency row. After the briefing, the two started talking to each other and in a quick moment, MP Surya placed his hand on the lever as if holding a gripping handle of a car and pulled it down. The emergency exit door came undone. The aircraft was already taxiing towards the runway when this happened."
After all the passengers were deplaned from the aircraft, Surya was asked by the airline authorities to give an apology in writing, sources present at the Chennai airport claimed to The News Minute (TNM).
As per TNM report, another passenger alleged, "After the apology, he (Surya) was moved from the seats near the emergency exit and was asked to sit in the back."
The Quint reached out to Surya regarding these allegations. The BJP MP, however, is yet to respond. The copy will be updated if and when he does respond.
As per a News18 report, Surya was lightly resting his hand on the door and after a while indicated to the air hostess that the door may have opened slightly.
“As per protocol, the incident had to be given in writing to the airlines and the airport authorities and that was done as responsible citizens,” a Tamil Nadu BJP leader, who is in the know of the incident, was quoted as saying.