Saturday, September 19, 2020

Air India’s Kolkata-Heathrow Flight Yanked Over Lack Of Slots

In a last-minute change, Air India’s Kolkata-London service was scrapped over slot issues at Heathrow. The flight had to make a stopover in Delhi to pick up passengers and operate as Kolkata-Delhi-London instead. The cancelation comes just days after the excitement over the first link between Kolkata and London in over 11 years.

AI 1149 was scheduled to depart from Kolkata Airport at 06:20 AM on 17th September for London, marking the first direct flight between the cities in 11 years. However, this exciting flight had to be canceled due to slot issues at Heathrow.

According to an Air India spokesman in the Times of India, Heathrow revoked the landing slot at the last minute, forcing the carrier to cancel the flight and reroute it instead. Kolkata Airport authorities said they found out about the change just 8 hours before departure. Air India says it had been guaranteed a slot, making it unclear what exactly caused the sudden revocation, especially since the outbound leg of the flight had already occurred.

Due to the change, Air India had to operate a domestic flight between Kolkata and Delhi to connect passengers onward to London. AI 111 left Kolkata at 09:48 AM and arrived in Delhi at 11:58 AM local time, according to FlightRadar24.

The flight only had 72 passengers in Kolkata, with another 86 joining in Delhi. The flight then operated as AI 111 between Delhi and London, leaving at 14:36 PM local time and arriving on time at 6:53 PM in London. However, for those coming from Kolkata, the flight was nearly seven hours late from the original arrival of 12:20 PM.

18/09/20 Pranjal Pande/Simple Flying

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