A couple got married mid-air in the presence of guests and relatives onboard a SpiceJet airlines' chartered flight on May 23 morning, in alleged violation of Covid-19 social distancing norms -- forcing Indian civil aviation authorities to take the entire cabin crew off duty.
Photos and videos of the onboard wedding and the couple exchanging garlands went viral on social media today.
The flight left Madurai airport in Tamil Nadu state and remained airborne for approximately two hours on Sunday morning before returning there, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
A senior official of aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said the flight crew has been de-rostered for not enforcing the social distancing norms onboard.
SpiceJet has been directed to lodge a complaint with relevant authorities against the people who did not follow the Covid-19 norms inside the flight, the official said.
He also said DGCA "will take strict action" after it completes its probe into the incident.
Asked about the incident, a SpiceJet spokesperson said "a SpiceJet Boeing 737 was chartered by a travel agent in Madurai on May 23, 2021 for a group of passengers for a joy ride post their wedding. The client was clearly briefed on Covid guidelines to be followed and denied permission for any activity to be performed on board. The approval for this flight was taken as a joy ride for the wedding group."
He said the agent and the guest passengers were briefed in detail, both in writing as well as verbally, on social distancing and safety norms to be followed according to the Covid-19 guidelines both at the airport and onboard the aircraft throughout the journey.
"The group was repeatedly briefed on the safety norms to be followed by the operating cabin crew and advised to follow the protocols laid down by the DGCA, including restrictions on photography and videography. Despite repeated requests and reminders, the passengers did not follow the guidelines and the airline is taking appropriate action as per rules," the spokesperson said.