Sleepy BA pilot gives passengers nightmare | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Sleepy BA pilot gives passengers nightmare

delhi Updated: Apr 16, 2007 04:34 IST
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A British Airways (BA) flight from Delhi to London, carrying 225 passengers, was delayed by more than 12 hours after the pilot refused to fly because he was “feeling sleepy”, airport sources said.

Around 2.10 a.m. on Sunday, the passengers on BA Flight 142, who had already boarded the aircraft at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI), were offloaded after the pilot expressed his unwillingness to fly because he felt he had not had proper sleep. The flight finally took off on Sunday afternoon, at 3.20 p.m.

Airline capers

October 11, 2003: Air India’s Cochin-Saudi Arabia plane was grounded and its 203 passengers deplaned after the crew failed to catch a rat on board

April 12, 2006; Air Deccan pilot suspended after being caught drunk in a breath-analyser test — affecting the Kolkata-bound DN-641 with 180 passengers on board

January 1, 2007: Two pilots of a low-cost airline were suspended after they were caught drunk

In an official statement, BA has apologised to the passengers, and said the flight was delayed in Delhi to ensure that the flight and cabin crew complied with safety regulations governing crew rest. “The crew hadn’t had enough rest. The safety regulations of British Airways don’t allow them to operate in such conditions. The entire crew had a disturbed night,” said BA spokesperson Radhika Raikhy.

She claimed, however, that the passengers had been informed about the likelihood of delay before they boarded the plane. The crew had already decided not to fly, she added.

The passengers were furious with their shabby treatment, with many insisting that proper arrangements for their overnight accommodation were not made by the airline. “They basically asked us to board some buses and left us to our own devices,” maintained Sunil Thapar, an angry passenger. “Nobody received us or briefed us. The most galling thing was that there were 90 people looking for accommodation in only 45 rooms.”

“We know passengers were not happy with the hotel they were taken to, and we are investigating the matter. However, we can do that only on Monday,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, airport sources said the crew had decided not to fly because some of them were under the influence of alcohol. According to regulations they can fly only 12 hours after consuming alcohol. The airline has denied the allegation.