Two CPI(M) MPs from Kerala delayed an Air India flight to Thiruvananthapuram by almost four hours when they refused to deboard the aircraft which developed a technical problem, Air India sources said here today.
The Delhi-Kochi-Thiruavananthapuram flight was scheduled to depart from Indira Gandhi airport at 1730 hours yesterday but was rescheduled to 1830 hours when the problem with its engine was found, Air India officials said.
As the technical problem would have taken sometime to be corrected, the officials said the airlines arranged for an alternate aircraft and brought the plane with the technical snag from the remote bay to the parking bay.
Passengers, numbering 144, and baggage were then transfered to new aircraft but the MPS -- Varkala Radhakrishnan and K S Manoj -- refused to deboard.
The MPs spoke to the office of Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and top Air India officials but decided to sit on a dharna till the airlines apologies for the inconvenience, the airlines sources said.
However, as the MPs continued with their protest, the airlines officials contacted higher authorities in the ministry and with their concurrence decided to fly to its destination without the MPs.
"Because of the undue delay and their refusal to deboard the plane, the flight took off at 2215 hours without them," sources said.
Both Radhakrishnan and Manoj were not available for comments.