More than 500 passengers were stuck inside separate Kingfisher Airlines flights scheduled to fly out of the Mumbai airport for around 90 minutes on Monday evening as an oil company temporarily stopped supplying jet fuel to the airline owing to the non-payment of dues.
The Hindustan Petroleum Corporation of India (HPCL), one of the main suppliers of air turbine fuel to Kingfisher, had stopped the supplies for about two hours leading to flight disruptions across the country.
Airport officials in Mumbai said that the flight schedules went out of gear between 6pm and 7.30pm as the delayed Kingfisher flights jammed the take-off queue. Worse still, passengers stuck in these flights began to panic when the airline cabin crew announced that the flights were not taking off because there was no fuel. “Neither did the flights neither take off nor did the crew allow people to get off the plane,” said an airport official.
A Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson said, “Due to a misunderstanding with one of our vendors, 12 flights, out of a daily network of more than 370 flights, were delayed. The issue has been resolved.”
S Roy Choudhury, chairman and managing director, HPCL, said, “We have resolved the issue with Kingfisher Airlines and the supplies have been resumed.”
All oil companies have been supplying fuel to the airline on cash-and-carry basis for the last one month after it failed to clear outstanding dues despite repeated warnings.
Inputs by Tushar Srivastav