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NEW DELHI: The aviation ministry on Friday well-ordered the Air India to instantly lift the two-week-old ban on stranded MP Ravindra Gaikwad. The airline acted in accordance with the order and now private airlines, which were waiting for AI’s decision, will go behind this suit.
The government move came in spite of the AI management telling the aviation ministry on Thursday that Gaikwad must make an apology to the airline and its workforce. AI cabin crew word him a flight risk and the pilots assumed they did not want to fly him unless he apologised.
However, pay no attention to this; the aviation ministry has issued a communiqué to AI to lift the ban on the MP. The ministry acknowledged Gaikwad’s ‘regret’ letter issued to aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Thursday in which he had said that his earlier behaviour should not be seen as an pointer that such things will happen again.
Gaikwad had been banned by Air India and then all private airlines like IndiGo, Jet, SpiceJet and GoAir, on March 24 — a day after he punch up a 60-year-old AI staffer with sandals and made an attempt to throw him off the plane at Delhi Airport.
On Thursday, Shiv Sena had endangered that it will stop flights in Mumbai and pass over the dinner hosted by PM Modi next Monday unless their policy-maker is back on planes. Shiv Sena MPs and ministers heckled and geared aviation minister A G Raju in Lok Sabha and Raju had to be shepherd to his chamber by BJP ministers. There was incredible pressure on BJP from ally Shiv Sena — which is providing decisive support to the coalition government in Maharashtra — to get hold of the ban lifted on Gaikwad.