AI flight delayed by eight hours

Updated on Nov 21, 2007 02:19 AM IST

The Civil Aviation Ministry has asked Air India to take action against those officials who are found responsible for lapses leading to delays, reports Sidhartha Roy.

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None | BySidhartha Roy and PTI, New Delhi

Keeping up with its reputation for delayed flights, Air India’s Delhi-London-New York flight got delayed by about eight hours on Tuesday. Once again, Air India passengers were left in the lurch at the Indira Gandhi International Airport after flight AI-111 scheduled to take off at 7.20 p.m. got delayed. The plane finally left at 3 p.m.

This same flight was delayed, cancelled and then rescheduled on November 17. This time too the reason for the delay was a technical snag. “The flight was delayed because there was some technical problem with the aircraft,” said an Air India spokesman.

Though sources said that like Monday, passengers of this flight too had a scuffle with Air India officials, the spokesman denied any such incident. “There was no scuffle because the passengers were informed about the delay on Monday evening itself,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Ministry asked Air India on Tuesday to take action against those officials who are found responsible for lapses leading to delays.

In a meeting to review Air India's functioning, Civil Aviation Secretary Ashok Chawla said the Ministry would now monitor all important flights on a daily basis in a bid to check delays and cancellations, official sources said.

At the meeting, it was also decided that Air India CMD V. Thulasidas and AI Board member and Joint Secretary R.K. Singh would meet by Friday and decide on “pruning and consolidating” some of the routes in its network in order to ensure schedules through availability of aircraft.

A coordination mechanism would be set up at Delhi’s IGI Airport with a senior officer heading it. The systems, which are in place to maintain accountability at each level, would be fully operationalised, the sources said. The meeting came in the backdrop of Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel taking a strong view of the delay in the six Air India flights and warning of action against those found responsible for lapses.

Six flights out of Delhi’s IGI Airport were delayed in the past two days due to technical and other reasons, causing harassment and hardship to passengers. Air India has already ordered a probe into the circumstances that caused the delay.

At least three Air India staffers were injured when some irate passengers allegedly scuffled with them due to a six-hour delay of a Tokyo-bound flight late night on Sunday.

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