A media scrum onboard an IndiGo flight this week has provoked a fresh warning from the Indian government about taking photos on a plane.

India threatens airlines with route suspensions for photo violations

On Wednesday, social media videos emerged showing actress Kangana Ranaut being harassed by a media scrum on an IndiGo flight from Chandigarh to Mumbai.

Reporters and media staff were seen jostling to get pictures of the Bollywood star, breaching social distancing guidelines - as well as India’s strict rules surrounding the use of photography on an aircraft.

According to reports, the actress left the plane without giving the journalists a single word, though not before causing much excitement among the press.

Following that incident, India’s Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has today threatened airlines with route suspensions if they allow passengers to take photos on an aircraft.

The country’s Aircraft Rules 1937 state that “no person shall take at a Government aerodrome, or from any aircraft in flight, any photograph” without official permission. That permission, however, cannot be given when an aircraft is “landing, taking off or on ground”.

Accusing the airlines of a “lack of diligence” in this regard, DGCA says it will stop airlines from flying if they continue to allow the rules to be broken. Its order of September 12 states:

“In spite of these regulations, it has been noted that airlines have failed to follow these stipulations primarily because of lack of diligence on their part. Needless to say that such deviations result in compromise in maintaining the highest standards of safety and therefore is not to be allowed. It has been decided that from now on, in case any such violation occurs on any scheduled passenger aircraft, the schedule of flight for that particular route shall be suspended for a period of two weeks from the next day… and shall be restored only after the airline has taken all the necessary punitive action against those responsible for the violation.”

Some avgeeks, including Vinamra Longani of Sarin & Co, an Indian law firm specialising in aviation matters, are already worried that the DGCA announcement might spoil their fun.

Summing up

Today’s threat by the Indian government to impose route suspensions gives airlines good reason to enforce the rules surrounding the use of in-flight photography, but some avgeeks are worried the crackdown might take the fun out of flying.

What do you make of India’s tough stance on taking photos in the plane?