Thursday, July 06, 2023

Kolkata-Bound Air India Flight From Delhi Delayed Over ‘Unavailability Of Pilots’, Passengers Stranded At IGI Airport

New Delhi: Around 182 passengers were left stranded at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport as a Kolkata-bound Air India flight from Delhi was delayed for more than four house due to unavailability of pilots. The Air India flight AI 762 was scheduled to take off from Delhi for Kolkata at 9 PM IST on Wednesday.

Passengers received a notification on SMS and email at 6:04 PM that the flight would be delayed by two hours meaning it would depart at 11 PM. However, to everyone’s surprise, the passengers were made to board the flight at 11 PM instead of mandatory one hour before as per the process.

“Hello Guest, Your Air India booking with us has a schedule change. Your updated flight timings for PNR 6W84JH are, AI762 DEL to CCU Booking Class : S Dep : 05JUL at 23:00 and Arr : 06JUL at 01:10.Please click to view other possible options for your travel. Air India looks forward to welcoming you on board!-Air India” said Air India in the message.

While everyone expected the captain to make the announcement of the journey and the cabin crew do their usual drill, but nothing happened. As a result, several passengers went in front of the cockpit to get an idea of what happened. To everyone’s surprise, it was found out that the none of the two pilots have boarded the flight.

When asked about the whereabouts of the pilots, the Air India officials on duty informed that the pilots are on their way. This continued till 12 AM in the midnight, post which the passengers turned violent and engaged in a war of words with the Air India officials and the security.

Upon pressurizing, the Air India officials informed that the original pilots designated for AI 762 had to be diverted to another flight. When asked why the airline didn’t appoint backup pilots, an Air India official, who has his name badge removed, said, “We had asked the other pilots to fly AI 762 but he is coming after completing a long flight and is tired and not in a position to fly again. We are in touch with the administration and soon someone will be deployed.”

While all these were happening, most of the passengers came out of the airplane as they started feeling suffocated that included several senior citizens. 

The whole drama went on till 1.20 AM (Thursday) when Captain Devraj Dutta finally took over and the aircraft left Delhi exactly 40 minutes later.

It landed at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata at 4 AM.

06/07/2023 Sunny Daud/

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