The civil aviation ministry suspended a senior Air India official for failing to arrange a back-up cockpit crew for a Mumbai-Singapore on Wednesday after the pilot scheduled to operate the flight was suspended.
More than 260 passengers booked to travel on AI flight (AI342) from Mumbai to Singapore were stranded as Captain RS Dhillon, who was rostered to operate it, was suspended on Tuesday based on prima facie evidence of his involvement in fudging simulator entries.
The ministry said Captain HY Samant, general manager (operations), should have arranged for alternative crew as he knew that the pilot assigned to operate the flight was grounded.
“The official had 24 hours to arrange for alternative crew. He allowed cancellation of the flight instead. Therefore I have asked the airline management to take him off roster pending inquiry,” said civil aviation minister, Ajit Singh, adding he has asked the airline’s chairman and managing director to transfer Captain Samant to another station.
Incidentally both Captain Dhillon and Captain Samant were facing a vigilance probe for faking simulator entries for young pilots at a training facility in the city.
The AI spokesperson confirmed that the flight scheduled to take off from the city at 5am was rescheduled to the same time on Thursday owing to “crew constraints”.
Airport sources told HT that passengers were left with little assistance for hours but the airline denied it. “It took us sometime to accommodate the passengers in alternative flights and provide them with hotel accommodation but it was not a long wait,” said an AI spokesperson.