Air India on Friday said a Delhi-Coimbatore flight was chartered to ferry Indian Premier League (IPL) players and Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel's daughter Poorna for commercial reasons.
"It was absolutely a commercial decision. Chartered flights make a lot of money for the airline. We keep combining flights according to our operational demand. The IPL anyway has been our customer ever since it began," Arvind Jadhav, chairman and managing director of the airline, said in a statement.
He was reacting to a media report that said the minister's daughter, who works for IPL, had the Delhi-Coimbatore Air India flight IC 7603 April 20 aborted less than 12 hours before departure to allow the aircraft to be deployed to ferry her and some IPL players from Chandigarh to Chennai.
But a directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) official said that airlines could provide chartered service only if a particular aircraft was not being used for a scheduled service.
"Diverting a scheduled passenger flight for charter operation is not permitted," the official said.