Friday, June 22, 2007

Airline says sorry for turning away cerebral palsy patient

Social activists and members of communities for the disabled staged a two-hour dharna at the domestic airport in the Capital on Thursday, protesting Jet Lite airlines’ decision against letting cerebral palsy patient Rajiv Rajan board a flight on grounds of being unfit and not in possession of a fitness certificate.

Despite letters to the CEO of Jet Lite, Gary Kingshott, and the Civil Aviation Ministry, the Disabled Rights Group received no reply, leading to a two-hour demonstration of nearly 200 activists.

Social activists Vandana Bed, Kamaljeet Singh and Asha Mehra also took part in the demonstration. Some protesters even threw black paint on Spice Jet and Jet Lite airlines’ windows.

“At 5 pm, some staff of the Jet Lite airlines offered a written statement, stating regret and tendering an apology to Rajiv Rajan for the treatment he received. The company admitted that it was at fault and stated the event occurred due to untrained staff,” said Javed Abidi, a prominent social activist present at the dharna.

Gary Kingshott, however, refuted such claims. “We regret the incident, but there is no reason for us to apologise to anyone,” said Kingshott. Jet Lite stuck to their stand that they had followed the norms set by the Internation Air Transport Association manual.

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