Close to 300 passengers who are to travel on a Mumbai-Hyderabad-Jeddah Air India flight on Monday afternoon will have to be prepared for a 32-hour delay.
Scheduled to leave Mumbai at 3pm on Monday, AI 965 reported a last minute snag. On Tuesday afternoon, the airline said that the flight will leave at 11pm.
Sources in the engineering section were not surprised as the Boeing 747 (VT-EVA), among a few in the fleet, has been flying with little rest. “This route is a single aircraft operation. This aircraft is also used for Gulf-bound operations connecting Hyderabad and Kochi,” said a source who did not wish to be named, and added that the spare aircraft for this route was on VIP duty.
HT’s report on poor upkeep of some AI jumbos, published on August 19, had mentioned that emergency buttons in 7 of 14 toilets in the same aircraft did not work. Sources added that the spare aircraft was sent to ferry vice-president Hamid Ansari, who recently flew down to Venezuela to attend the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit.
An AI spokesperson confirmed the delay but did not comment on aircraft shortage. “The flight has been rescheduled due to engineering. Passengers had already been informed in advance about the revised timings through the call centre,” he said.