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On cloud nine, couple walks down the aisle

Tuesday, 25 May 2021 | PNS | Chennai/New Delhi

A couple from Madurai, Tamil Nadu, found a unique way to tie the knot in an unusual way to avoid the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions. The couple, identified as Rakesh and Dheekshana, hired a SpiceJet Boeing 737 for two hours and tied the knot exactly when their chartered aircraft hovered over the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple in the “graceful” presence of 133 relatives and close friends in the flight on Sunday. 

After images and videos of the mid-air wedding started circulating on social media on Monday showing people standing extremely close to each other as the couple tied the knot, the Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued a show-cause notice to SpiceJet and ordered an enquiry into the matter.

The DGCA de-rostered the crew and directed SpiceJet to lodge a complaint with relevant authorities against those people who did not follow the Covid-19 norms inside the flight. “The DGCA ‘will take strict action’ after it completes its probe,” said officials.

However, S Senthil Velavan, director, Madurai Airport, has been quoted by a news agency as saying that the Airport Authority of India staff were not aware of the proposed marriage that was to take place in the flight. The airline authorities told the media the passengers were briefed about the dos and dont’s during the flight.

 In the images and visuals of the mid-air wedding, the couple can be seen surrounded by guests, all of whom violated Covid-19 protocols. One person can be seen wearing his mask on his chin. The couple, in fact, had tied the knot in a private wedding ceremony last week. But soon after the Covid relaxation was announced, both of them finalised upon the plan of the “aircraft wedding” in order to make their special day memorable. 

According to officials, the “marriage flight” took off from Madurai International Airport at 7 am on May 23. 

The couple claimed that the entire contingent had cleared the RT-PCR test before boarding.

An airline 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 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,” he said.

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