HUNDREDS of passengers to Israel had to spend a night at Terminal 2 of the Mumbai international airport, instead of in the flight, after the airplane they had boarded started leaking fuel. The flight could only take off six and a half hours after its scheduled departure, when the aircraft was finally repaired.
With the flight being the only one of El Al Israel airlines going to Tel Aviv, no alternative adjustments could be made for passengers, said an official close to developments. Representation pic/Getty Images
The incident was reported in flight LY-072 (Mumbai-Tel Aviv) after passengers had just boarded the aircraft, which was scheduled to take off at 11.30 pm on Tuesday. Soon after they had started settling in, they were asked to de-board the plane. There were 165 passengers and 12 crewmembers. “These passengers were de-boarded in advance while they had just settled down for safety measures. Care was taken to ensure their comfort,” said an airport official.
Passengers, after de-boarding, exited through the arrivals section and were allowed to wait in the check-in area of T2. Another airport official present at the spot added, “The airline tried to adjust 150 of its passengers in any four-star or five-star hotel, but was unable to do so as rooms weren’t available. Instead, they were given snacks.”
The aircraft could only be repaired by 6 am, after which the passengers were made to board immediately. The Boeing 767 flight in question is the only flight of the airline that flies to Tel Aviv, Israel’s second-largest city. “The passengers were, hence, made to wait until the aircraft was repaired, since no workaround adjustments could be made for them.
Hardly any flights go to Tel Aviv from Mumbai. The flight was delayed due to the technical snag, but was repaired and the passengers were sent off soon,” said an official close to the developments. The flight plies four times a week Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
The airline’s manager at Terminal 2 confirmed the incident. But, he said he wasn’t authorised to speak to the media and only the airline’s headquarters in Israel would be able to do so. When mid-day tried to reach officials at El Al Israel Airlines’ head office, they remained unavailable for comment.