Mumbai: Delayed, Air India fliers create chaos at T2
Around 171 passengers travelling by Air India (AI) from Bangkok to Ahmedabad via Mumbai on Monday were forced to wait for almost three hours before the onward flight took off for its final destination.
Distraught passengers went vocal with their protests against the national airline on Monday. File pic
This resulted in a few unruly scenes at the airport as distraught passengers went vocal with their protests against the national airline. Flight AI 331, which should have taken off from Mumbai’s Terminal 2 (T2) for Ahmedabad at 1.45 am (after a change of aircraft), finally took off for its destination only at 4.50 am.
What followed after the flight delay was utter chaos at T2. The carrier was supposed to deplane all 171 passengers on board and accommodate them near the boarding bay for the onward connection to Ahmedabad on a fresh aircraft.
When the passengers were being deplaned, around 50 of them (who were at the bay waiting for the connecting aircraft) started shouting slogans against the national carrier, protesting against the lack of communication from AI on the delay.
At around 4 am, further adding to the chaos, AI’s security had to waste around half an hour trying to prevent 15 passengers from trying to walk into the terminal. An airport official present at the spot claimed, “Air India security failed to manage their passengers, as 50 started protesting against the airline (after they were deplaned).
At around 4 am, around 15 passengers were prevented from trying to walk towards the terminal interiors. They had to be stopped and convinced to return (back to the boarding bay) near the aircraft. It took almost half an hour for the security personnel to make the passengers assemble together near the aircraft.”
It was only at 4.50 am that the new aircraft A321 could take off finally for Ahmedabad. The national carrier has been grappling with crew shortages, which has made it struggle to maintain its schedules. It has started a recruitment drive from April this year to tide over this crisis.
The other side
An Air India spokesperson told mid-day, “The flight was rescheduled for half an hour because of late arrival of an incoming aircraft whose pilot was to operate this flight. The aircraft are changed (from a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner to a A321), hence the passengers were being shifted from one aircraft to another. Thus the delay in the take-off of this flight was for two hours.”