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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Air India crew party holds up flight, adds to fliers' woes

Soubhik Mitra , Hindustan Times  Mumbai, December 18, 2013
First Published: 23:09 IST(18/12/2013) | Last Updated: 09:00 IST(19/12/2013)

After the dense fog that is delaying flights, an office party by Air India cabin crew personnel allegedly stretched more than 200 fliers’ wait to get home on December 16.

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The passengers travelling on Air India flight AI116 from Delhi to London were forced to land in Mumbai as dense fog had suspended air traffic in the capital city on Tuesday.

The flight arrived in the city at 6:30 am and was rescheduled to take off for the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport at 9:30 am as weather forecast showed Delhi skies to clear up by 10 am.

However, the flight got delayed by another three hours as the cabin crew rostered to operate it allegedly turned down the duties citing an office party.

The matter came light through a complaint sent to the airline’s chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan. HT has a copy of the complaint. According to it the crew that operated the flight from London could not continue with the flight as they had expired the permissible flight duty period owing to the delay.

The aviation safety regulator has set flight duty limits for pilots and cabin crew to tackle safety concerns stemming from flight fatigue.

“After a long distance journey jetlagged passengers were stranded inside the terminal because the airline did not have another set of crew to operate the flight,” said a senior airline official requesting anonymity. The aircraft being operated on route being the newly inducted Boeing 787, the airline did not have many trained cabin crewmembers to operate the flight.

The complaint added that the office get-together was organised to celebrate the promotion of the senior manager in charge of the cabin crew department.

“While passengers eagerly waited to get home, a section of crewmember were dancing to Hindi movie songs within the office premises,” said another official. CMD Rohit Nandan, did not respond to HT’s calls and a query sent via a text message.

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