Fliers fume as lack of pilots delays Air India’s Mumbai-Ahmedabad flight by 7 hours
The security agency had to take charge after more than 200 Mumbai passengers, meant to board the Boeing aircraft, created a ruckusmumbai Updated: Dec 02, 2017 23:18 IST
A lack of available pilots delayed a Mumbai-Ahmedabad flight for almost seven hours, leaving passengers stranded at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA). Air India flight AI 031, which was to depart at 1.35 am on Saturday, finally took off at 8.20 am. The security agency had to take charge after more than 200 passengers, meant to board the Boeing aircraft, created a ruckus.
“The flight was delayed owing to the flight duty time limitation (FDTL) issue and crew constraints,” said an Air India spokesperson.
The FDTL, set up by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), ensures that an on-board crew has mandatory resting hours before and after operating their flight. The crew is restricted from working extra time and has to follow the FDTL as a safety measure.
Sources said passengers had to spend the night in the boarding area, and did not allow the airline staff to continue their work smoothly, as a sign of protest.
“Passengers were agitated after seeing no movement from the airline early in the morning. However, we arranged for an alternative aircraft to accommodate the passengers,” said an airport official, who did not wish to be identified.
Passengers said they were initially told that there would be an hour-long delay. “We had to ask the airline staff for an update. They neither kept us informed nor handled the situation well,” said a passenger.
Officials said that when the agitated passengers learnt that there was no change even after a few hours, they did not allow the airline staff to work in the boarding area and obstructed them while they were trying to handle other departures.