How the derailment grounded a Hong Kong-bound flight

Sep 17, 2015, 15:00 IST | Neha LM Tripathi

12 crewmembers reported late to the airport as they were stranded in traffic on the WEH; angry passengers refused to board the rescheduled flight causing the airline to cancel the flight

One might wonder if there is a connection between Tuesday’s train derailment and the cancellation of the Hong Kong-bound Cathay Pacific flight. Well, there is one!

With people opting to travel via road post-derailment, resulting in hour-long jams due to bumper-to-bumper traffic across the city, 12 crewmembers reached the airport late as they were stuck in one such traffic jam on the Western Express Highway (WEH). This eventually resulted in the cancellation of the flight.

Sources at Terminal-2 said boarding for CX 696, whose standard departure time is 10.46 pm, was rescheduled for 11.55 pm after its crew reported late to work. However, the delay had irked the 200 passengers who created a ruckus around 11.15 pm and refused to board the flight after learning that the flight was re-routed as well.

“No explanation was offered by the airline to the passengers about the rescheduled flight. The boarding commenced at 11.55 pm. However, what infuriated the passengers most was the announcement informing that the flight will take an hour’s layover at Bangkok before flying to Hong Kong,” one of the sources said.

Airport officials present at the spot said the flight was declared cancelled at 1.35 am following which 146 passengers and the 12 crewmembers were accommodated in JW Marriott. The flight finally departed yesterday at 5.31 pm. The remaining 54 passengers chose to self offload and manage the journey on their own said an airline official.

The other side
“Our flight CX696, from Mumbai to Hong Kong, on September 15, was delayed due to operational reasons. A heavy traffic jam on the highway resulted in our crew reaching late at the Mumbai International Airport, which affected available duty hours for the operating crew to be able to operate the flight back to Hong Kong.

In order to minimise the delay, we looked at various options — including having the crew operate the flight to Bangkok where a replacement crew would then take over. However, after evaluating all the options, we decided to reschedule the flight to depart at 5.30 pm, directly to Hong Kong, after the crew would have completed their minimum rest period.

Some passengers were transferred to other airlines. Hotel accommodation was provided whilst some chose to go back home. This flight departed this evening (Wednesday) at 5.30 pm. Our team in Hong Kong will assist passengers with their onward flight connections.

We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to our passengers,” said Charlie Stewart-Cox, GM, South Asia, Middle East and Africa, Cathay Pacific.

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