The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday asked the Air India to explain and produce relevant record pertaining to circumstances under which it changed the route of Amritsar-Birmingham flight.
The order was passed by the bench of justices SS Saron and Darshan Singh during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL), alleging neglect of the airport.
As summoned, two of the top management officials, general manager (commercial) and assistant general manager (operations), were present in the court, but failed to satisfy the court on its queries.
The high court asked the duo as to why Amritsar-Birmingham flight was changed to Amritsar-Delhi- Birmingham as passengers have to fly extra as well as pay more for no reason.
The officers had submitted that it was changed due to operational reasons being Delhi as the hub of carrier’s flights. However, the bench asked when the passenger load was adequate for the flight at Amritsar, then why the aircraft with passengers fly to Delhi and then heads towards Birmingham using Pakistan airspace. The Birmingham-Amritsar flight also lands at Delhi airport first and then heads to Amritsar.
Later, the high court asked the Air India to produce relevant record pertaining to this decision and also directed to submit a detailed reply.
Earlier, the petitioner had told the court that as the fight first lands at Delhi before heading for Amritsar and after takeoff from Amritsar it first goes to Delhi before heading for Birmingham, the ticket of the passenger goes up from Rs 3,000 to Rs 13,000 (depending on class of travel). It was also stated that Delhi charges user development fee of Rs 1,350 per passenger and Amritsar airport Rs 950 per passenger.
The petitioner also gave stats for the year 2008-09, claiming that it was procured from data of directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA), saying 90% passengers on the flight board at Amritsar and remaining at Delhi.