DAINIK NATION BUREAU
Air India has suspended three employees and warned a pilot for late-coming after some 125 passengers, including Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju, had to wait inside a plane at the Delhi airport for over 60 minutes on Wednesday morning.
The minister demanded an explanation from new Air India Chairman And Managing Director Pradeep Kharola as angry passengers confronted him and demanded to know why their flight from Delhi to Vijaywada was not taking off.
Raju, surrounded by protesting passengers, ringed Kharola from the aircraft. The Air India chief has reportedly taken serious note of the incident, attributed to “coordination issues” between two departments of the airline. He has called a meeting of senior officials, say sources.
The airline’s spokesperson, GP Rao, confirmed that flight AI 459 December 13 morning was delayed by 90 minutes. Passengers protested and questioned minister Raju on the delay in the flight. Immediately the minister asked Air India CMD Pradeep Kharola about the reason for the delay. A warning letter has been issued to the captain for reaching the airport late.
The flight was suppose to take off by 6 am but the airline’s operation wing reportedly decided to wait for better visibility. This was apparently not communicated to the ground staff, who started boarding on the aircraft as scheduled.
The flight was delayed even more when the pilot was reportedly stopped at the security check over a problem with his airport pass. Only the co-pilot could reach the plane on time.
Reports say the pilot finally reached around 15 minutes late. It is not the best start for Kharola, a senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer who took charge of Air India on Monday. He is helming the airline at a time the government has started the process for its strategic disinvestment.