A Vijaywada-bound Air India flight carrying 100 passengers and civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju was delayed by over an hour on Wednesday at Delhi airport. The airline later suspended three AI employees and issued a warning letter to the pilot for arriving late.
“Yesterday Air India AI 459 Delhi to Vijaywada flight was delayed by around 1.30 hours with over 100 passengers including minister of civil aviation P Ashok Gajapati Raju onboard,” Air India spokesperson GP Rao told ANI.
The civil aviation minister had to face an angry crowd after which he called Air India CMD Pradeep Kharola and sought the reason behind the delay. “Onboard passengers protested and questioned Minister Raju on the delay in the flight. Immediately, the minister asked Air India CMD Pradeep Kharola about flight delay reason,” Rao is quoted as saying by ANI.
The flight was scheduled to take off at 6 am but the operation wing reportedly decided to wait for better visibility. Apparently, this was not communicated to the ground staff, who started boarding as scheduled. Reports say the pilot was stopped at security check point over a problem with his airport pass.
The flight finally took off for Vijaywada after a delay of nearly 1 hour 30 minutes. Meanwhile, the national carrier, besides suspending three Air India employees, issued a warning letter to the captain for reaching 15 minutes late.