New Delhi: An Air India flight from Kolkata to Delhi with 236 passengers including CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury landed at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport after more than 13 hours delay due to a snag.
Even a change of aircraft did not mitigate the suffering of the stranded passengers, with some of them accusing the state-run airline of misinforming them on the actual departure of the delayed flight.
"Latest from @airindiain 701: flying 6:45 am - after 13 hrs spent on 2 diff aircraft with 2 diff boarding passes & a lot of lies," a passenger tweeted today after the flight AI 701, which was scheduled to take off for Delhi at 5.30 pm last evening.
"6 hrs of being inside AI 701, my 5m (baby) is on the floor as AI is clueless," another passenger had tweeted earlier.
Air India, however, said that it tried every thing to fly the stranded passengers to their destination at the earliest. "AI 701 (Kolkata-Delhi) had push back at 5.30 pm and after push back there was a snag. Engineers tried to rectify the snag. However, since the problem could not be resolved, the aircraft was declared grounded at 10.10 pm," an Air India spokesperson said here.
He said the airline deplaned all the passengers as another Air India flight was landing at Kolkata airport at 10.30 pm and it was decided to operate this incoming aircraft to Delhi.
"Meanwhile, one of the pilots who was to operate the aircraft came under Flight Duty Time Limitation (FDTL) by the time the boarding of all passengers could have been completed. This forced the airline to reschedule the departure again to 6.30 am," the spokesperson said.
Since the flight was to leave only at 6.30 am, passengers were requested to deplane and move to the terminal building, the spokesperson said.
Sources said of the 236 passengers, 154 remained onboard while the rest including Yechury got down to take the early morning flight of other airlines.
"Since the flight was delayed, I deboarded and left for the party office in Kolkata. I had dinner there and after having some rest came back to airport to catch the morning flight today," Yechury said.
Air India said that it is unfortunate that due to the snag the passengers were put to inconvenience but safety is paramount for the airline.
"We deeply regret the inconvenience caused to the passengers, however, safety is paramount and hence the delay," the spokesperson said.