IndiGo flight delayed by 5 hours at IGI airport, passengers protest metres away from runways
A group of passengers of a Guwahati-bound IndiGo flight at Delhi airport deboarded metres away from an active runway to protest against the “delay and mismanagement” on part of the airline on Wednesday.
The Delhi-Guwahati flight (6E 694), officials said, was delayed due to a sudden change in weather on Wednesday night, which irked a number of passengers.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) had to be later called in to contain the ruckus and force passengers back into the plane. The flight, which was to depart at 6:30pm finally took off at 11:45pm, after a delay of more than five hours.
Officials said that the drama took place around 10.10pm when a number of departures were affected and 15 incoming flights to Delhi had to be diverted due to a sudden change in weather.
According to airport officials, flight 6E 694, with 177 passengers on board, was waiting approval from the Air Traffic Control to take off. The flight was asked to wait since weather conditions were not conducive.
“The passengers had already boarded the aircraft, an Airbus A320. Since there was a delay of a few hour, the pilots commandeering the plane went out of flight duty time. A new crew was therefore arranged who again had to wait for an adequate departure slot from the ATC. This further delayed the flight. The door of the aircraft was open and the ladder was yet to be removed by the airline staff so the crew could exit and the next one could come in. A group of passengers came down the ladder and started staging a protest against the airline on the apron area, just metres away from the three active runways,” said a senior officer from the Central Industrial Security Force.
An apron is defined as the area where passengers board an aircraft.
Confirming the incident, assistant inspector general, CISF, Hemendra Singh said that soon after the incident was reported to the force, teams were rushed to the spot. “We managed to control the ruckus and passengers were put back on to the aircraft. Since the protest not far from the activee runways, no risk could be taken,” Singh said. The flight finally took off at 11.45pm, almost five hours behind schedule, he said.
Reacting to the incident, a spokesperson from IndiGo said that the incoming aircraft scheduled for the flight to Guwahati was delayed due to the severe weather conditions. “With respect to flight 6E 694, IndiGo started boarding around 8.15pm. However, the thunderstorm intensified due to which the aircraft could not depart and had to wait for a respective departure slot. After the boarding and the prolonged waiting due to adverse weather conditions, the pilots went out of flight duty time. Therefore, a new crew was arranged who had to wait for the respective departure slots to be given, thus further delaying the flight,” said an IndiGo spokesperson. “IndiGo regrets the inconvenience caused to passengers which was due to severe weather condition. We provided accommodation and ground transportation at Guwahati to all passengers,” the airline spokesperson said.