The biggest passenger airline of India has decided to have electronic swatters on its planes to control the growing menace of mosquitoes on board. The swatters are the battery-operated, racquet-shaped mosquito ‘bats’ that are majorly used at home, will be on the flights from this month onwards.
Each plane will have two swatters by excluding usage during plane refueling. The batteries will be changed at the stations.
The airline said, “The electronic bats [swatters] will be used only in exceptional circumstances and not as a regular practice. Preventive measures such as spraying approved insecticides before departure and placing mosquito repellent patches in the aircraft are already taken.
The mosquito menace is prominent in airports like Kolkata, Lucknow, Varanasi, and Chandigarh. Previously, airlines have used aviation regulator-approved repellents to deal with the problem.
According to news agency PTI, last month, Saurabh Rai, a cardiologist, had raised the issue of mosquitoes in an IndiGo aircraft, a video of which went viral. He had accused the airline of manhandling and offloading him from a flight when he complained about the mosquitoes.
According to Rai, IndiGo crew members did not arrange for mosquito repellents and they instead said mosquitoes are all over India, “so will you leave the country?” So after that airline personnel rushed towards his seat and caught him by his collar and forced him to delete all the photographs from his phone taken inside the aircraft.
The airline denied any manhandling and said Rai had used threatening language. Dr Saurabh Rai by IndiGo at Lucknow airport said, “I have ordered an inquiry into the incident of offloading passenger.”
Last November, another video showing IndiGo airlines ground staff manhandling and pinning down a passenger on the tarmac at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport had gone viral on social media.
IndiGo flies around 1,000 flights a day. It has about 40% of the domestic market share, with its 163 planes connecting 42 domestic and eight international destinations.