Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Snag in Air India One, Prez stuck in Zurich for hrs

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind’s flight from to Slovenia was delayed on Sunday after the Boeing 747 that was to fly as AI One developed a snag. According to sources, the president drove to Zurich airport where a last-minute glitch on the 26-year-old jumbo jet (VT-ESO) was suspected. The VVIP returned to his hotel and AI aircraft engineers immediately started working on the aircraft “Khajuraho”.

During this time, an AI that was to operate on London-Mumbai sector with a schedule departure time of 1.15 pm (local time London) as flight 130 was kept on standby at Heathrow as alternate AI One to be flown to Zurich for the President’s journeys if needed.

Luckily AI engineers rectified the jumbo jet which then flew President Kovind to Slovenia with a delay of a few hours. And AI 130 flew to Mumbai at 2.30 pm (local time London) from Heathrow without requiring to fly as alternate AI One to Zurich, say sources.

Keeping an Air India aircraft at a foreign base nearest from where AI One has to operate as standby is a regular practice. This overseas trip of President Kovind first made news when Pakistan on September 7 denied permission for it to fly over its airspace from India to Europe and back.

The B747 took a longer route to Europe when it left last Monday (Sept 9) and will take the longer route back home too. Now India is not going to seek clearance for VVIP flights to use Pakistan airspace till relations between he two countries improve.
01/10/19 Douglas Digital Daily
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