D Sudhakara Reddy, founder, president of APAI, is no more

Our Bureau Chennai/Ahmedabad | Updated on July 13, 2020 Published on July 13, 2020

D Sudhakara Reddy, President, Air Passengers Association of India   -  @presidentapai

Aviation industry veteran D Sudhakara Reddy, President, Air Passengers Association of India (APAI) — who gave voice to air passengers — died here today due to cardiac arrest. He was 72. He is survived by his daughter Deeptha Reddy and son-in-law Ajay Ranganathan.

Reddy’s daughter said that he passed away at 1.47 pm at Apollo Hospitals. “I always admired his discipline, perseverance, desire to help others, innovative mind and charisma. His passing is truly an end of an era. His shoes are a size that can never be filled,” she added.

As president of APAI, an autonomous organisation that he founded in 1990, Reddy took up the cause of air passengers across the country. He had brought various stakeholders, including airlines and airport operators, onto a single platform to raise awareness about passenger rights.

Behram Mehta, Chairman, APAI, Western Region, said that it was a big loss to APAI and the air passengers fraternity.

“He gave voice to air passengers,” Mehta said.

Recalling his biggest achievements, Mehta said that Reddy was successful in removal of the 5-20 rule for airlines opting to fly abroad. “The 5-20 rule required an Indian airline to have 20 aircraft and five years of experience to fly on foreign routes. He recommended that we should allow everyone to fly abroad without such restrictions. And this rule was withdrawn in 2016 new aviation policy,” Mehta said adding that his latest ongoing fight in Supreme Court regarding the ticket refunds is seen as a big step in the passengers’ interests.

Reddy also fought many battles during the present Covid pandemic. He fought vigorously demanding refund for passengers from the airlines who did not operate their flights on the first day of resumption on May 25 following the Covid-19 pandemic.

He also criticised the government for the ‘sloppy’ handling of the first day of flight resumption after the lockdown was removed , which led to chaos across the country.

“Myself and the whole aviation fraternity is deeply aggrieved to hear of the loss of Reddy. He was a wonderful human being, who was instrumental with his pragmatic inputs in improving air connectivity and airport facilities with regard to Chennai airport. He played a pivotal role in bringing passenger grievances to public/ government domain,” said Suneel Dutt, Chennai Airport Director.

The association's national secretary Hiren Bhasker Shah said that Reddy was a very considerate and a fine gentleman who crusaded right through to protect and safeguard the interest of the air passengers.. He pioneered the cause and had successfully helped to enhance safety and amentias to all air travelers. A big loss to the air passenger community, and personally a father figure who was very meticulous and always willing to help all.

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Published on July 13, 2020
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