More than 100 Delhi-bound passengers were stuck in a Kingfisher flight on Monday evening for two hours at the Mumbai airport because the cockpit crew did not report to duty on time.
“All passengers on flight IT 309 had boarded on time but the flight was delayed because there were no pilots,” said a Mumbai airport official requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to talk to the media.
A Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson confirmed the delay. “The crew scheduled to operate the Mumbai-Delhi flight was coming from another flight which got delayed,” said the spokesperson.
Sudhakar Reddy, national president of the Air Passenger Association of India (APAI), a body formed by air travellers, said that he had got similar complaints from flyers in the past two months. “All domestic carriers have increased the number of flights in the recent past, the least they could do is have a spare crew of pilots and cabin crew at big airports such as Mumbai and Delhi to avoid such situations,” said Reddy.
The civil aviation ministry’s plan to review the year-old rule to cut down delays has been delayed for the second time in two months. According to the rule, air traffic control officers can send an aircraft to the end of the departure queue if the flight is not ready for take-off 15 minutes before the scheduled time of departure. The ministry was to take an assessment of flight delays at major airports starting with Mumbai on March 9.
“We have rescheduled the meeting because the parliament session is on till March 25,” said Alok Sinha, joint secretary, civil aviation ministry.