It wasn't a very Happy Dussehra for 154 Air India passengers with the national carrier cancelling their Delhi-bound flight without any prior intimation.
The cancellation of Air India's Delhi flight (AI 666), which takes off at around 4pm, was made during its Standard Time of Departure (STD). Initially, according to passengers, they weren't infomred of the reasons for the delay. It was later learnt that the flight was cancelled as the incoming aircraft that flies to Mumbai from Trivandrum as AI 668 (and lands Mumbai by 2.50pm) got grounded at its starting point.
An Air India aircraft prepares to land at the Mumbai international airport in 2010. Pic/AFP
An airport official said, “It was at around 4pm when the passengers were informed about the flight cancellation and they started to create nuisance. They not only questioned the airline staff for canceling the flight but also shouted slogans against them.
An airline official said that off the 154 passengers, 92 were accommodated in the next alternate available flights while the others choose to manage on their own.
The airline has shifted its entire domestic operations to the new international terminal on October 1, after which this was the fourth time in 22 days that the national carrier faced issues due to either technical issues or delay of incoming aircraft.
RECENT SIMILAR CASES:
On October 13, AI 965 (Mumbai-Hyderabad-Jeddah) standard departure time 3.25pm was delayed till 9.30pm due to non-availability of aircraft. All the 202 passengers gathered in the Duty Free Shop Area (DFS) and protested against the airline. Off the 202 passengers, 189 were Hyderabad bound and the remaining 13 were Jeddah bound passengers. Though the airline stuck to the aircraft being delayed till 9.30pm. The airline had admitted that the delay had been due to late arrival of an incoming aircraft, which then had technical issues and departed six hours after its STD.
In yet another incident on October 6, the national carrier clubbed two Bangalore bound flights without accounting for loads. This left some passengers stranded. Passengers of these two flights; AI 603 (6.15am flight to Bangalore) and AI 639 (9.15am flight to Bangalore) were troubled due to the merger of two flights. The reason for this was that an A320 aircraft was grounded at Maldives. Passengers of AI 639 explained that the airline had told the passengers of AI 603 that their flight had been rescheduled to 8.45am whereas they had received a call from the airline at around 4am informing that their flight was brought forward by half an hour. Neither group of passengers was informed about being accommodated in one aircraft.” The flight finally took off at 9.15am.