Flyer declares he is Covid-19 minutes before take-off to Pune, flight turns back
An IndiGo flight to Pune had to return back to the parking bay after having taxied to a runway of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on Thursday evening after one of the passengers on board the aircraft declared that he had received his Covid test report and had tested positive for the virus.
The man was then de-boarded and handed over to health officials at the Delhi airport. The flight finally took off for Pune around 7pm, after a delay of around 90 minutes during which the aircraft was thoroughly sanitised and fumigated, officials said. IndiGo did not confirm how many passengers or crew members were onboard the aircraft. The airline also did not share how many passengers were in direct contact with the passenger who tested Covid-19 positive.
At present, it is mandatory for all flyers from Delhi, Rajasthan, Kerala, Goa, and Gujarat to produce a negative RT-PCR report after landing in Maharashtra.
Airport officials, privy to the matter, said the incident took place on flight 6E 286 of IndiGo airlines that was scheduled to take off for Pune from Delhi airport at 5.30pm on Thursday.
IndiGo declined to comment on or confirm the incident. However, airport officials aware of the matter, said that after completing boarding of passengers, the flight had pushed back and left the tarmac when the incident took place. It was taxiing to reach the runway when one of the passengers informed the airline crew that he had just received his Covid-19 report, which showed that he had tested positive for the viral disease.
“On this, the crew immediately reported the matter to the pilot in command, who in turn alerted the air traffic control and requested a return to the parking bay. The aircraft, that had already reached the runway, was then allowed to return and was parked back at 5.40pm. Meanwhile, medical team at the airport were informed and they reached the aircraft, as the passenger was de-boarded as per standard operating procedures set by the Union ministry of health,” said an official from Delhi airport, who wished not to be named.
Officials from Delhi airport, however, also could not confirm if the man was sent into isolation and where.
The official said that all other passengers on board were also de-boarded and the aircraft was thoroughly sanitised. “A thorough fumigation was carried out. All touchpoints were sanitized, and the plane was cleaned. Only after that the rest of the passengers were allowed to board again. The flight finally took off for Pune at 7pm, with a delay of one and a half hours,” the official said.