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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Hope for people stranded inside planes

Tushar Srivastava, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 08, 2014
First Published: 01:59 IST(8/1/2014) | Last Updated: 02:20 IST(8/1/2014)

Passengers stranded inside planes for hours due to weather-related delays – a common occurrence at Delhi’s IGI Airport during winters – could soon get some relief.

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A Hindustan Times report on Tuesday highlighting the apathy of Air India crew to the plight of passengers who had to sit endlessly as the pilot (of flight AI504 to Bangalore) waited for permission to take-off has forced the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to take action.

DGCA chief Prabhat Kumar has formed a committee that will recommend how passengers stuck inside an aircraft for hours can disembark in case of delays.

“Making passengers sit endlessly inside the aircraft is unacceptable. They should be allowed to go back to the departure lounge till visibility improves,” an official said. “There are some security-related issues, which need to be sorted out,” he added.

The panel will also decide the length of time beyond which passengers can demand that they be allowed to get off the plane.

The committee will also suggest measures to make Delhi a “zero diversion airport” (from which no flights are diverted due to bad weather) by next winter. “Airlines will be informed about bad weather in advance. We are contemplating taking action against erring carriers that operate flights despite being informed that landing is not possible,” the official said.

The DGCA chief has also ordered airlines to use only CAT III compliant planes for operations to Delhi during foggy weather. “Airlines have also been told that both pilots should be CAT III certified,” he said.

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