NEW DELHI - India's Jet Airways has grounded five crew members for allowing a Bollywood singer to perform over the in-flight announcement system, an airline spokesman said Friday, prompting a social media backlash against the decision.
The temporary suspension of the crew comes after a video showing singer Sonu Nigam's impromptu performance last month went viral, prompting an investigation by authorities.
"All cabin crew on the flight have been taken off from flight duty for enquiry and corrective training to reinforce strict adherence to operating procedures," a Jet Airways spokesman said in a statement.
The video showed the celebrity singer crooning to chart-topping Bollywood songs with other passengers joining in on a chartered flight from the western city of Jodhpur to Mumbai on January 4.
Following its probe, government officials asked the airline to take action against the cabin crew for violating regulations and misusing the in-flight announcement system.
The crew's suspension was trending in India on Friday with Twitter users lashing out at the authorities for suspending the crew.
"Never knew Sonu Nigam would be such a bad music to ears of Jet Airways. Suspending 5 lovely ladies for good sense of music.. Seriously??," user Yashwant Deshmukh tweeted.
Never knew Sonu Nigam would be such a bad music to ears of Jet Airways. Suspending 5 lovely ladies for good sense of music..Seriously??— Yashwant Deshmukh (@YRDeshmukh) February 5, 2016
"Wah! He made the passengers smile.. and jet airways suspended the crew.. great!! Get well soon Jet Airways," tweeted Sana Sheikh.
However, many netizens supported the carrier's decision, saying such actions could jeopardise flight safety.
"I'm glad @jetairways has suspended (its) crew for allowing Sonu Nigam to 'misuse' the announcement system. It is unacceptable & dangerous," tweeted Tehseen Poonawalla.
In 2014, Spice Jet, another private airline, suspended cabin crew and two pilots after a video went viral, showing the staff dancing in mid-flight to celebrate the Hindu festival Holi.
Jet Airways makes Sonu Nigam sing mid air, thank God Sunny Leone wasn't on board.— Donald Duck (@WatDaDuck_) February 5, 2016
5 innocent air hostess of Jet Airways have lost their job Coz idiot @sonunigam was singing a song in the flight n passengers filed complaint— KRK (@kamaalrkhan) February 5, 2016