Probe altercation between AirAsia staff & passengers

MoS for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha
MoS for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha
MoS for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha

NEW DELHI: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is probing an incident in which passengers of an AirAsia India flight from Kolkata to Bagdogra got into an altercation with the airline staff after delay in departure, the civil aviation minister has said. Some passengers on the AirAsia India flight had an altercation with the airline staff over deplaning them after the flight was delayed by over four hours, a passenger had claimed. “DGCA is reviewing the incident and we will take appropriate follow up action,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha tweeted this evening. Indian Oil Corporation Executive Director (West Bengal) Dipankar Ray, who was also travelling in the same flight, had complained of very “unprofessional and rude” behavior from the airline staff. “The flight was scheduled to depart at 9 am and was initially delayed by 30 minutes. After boarding, we kept sitting inside the aircraft for one-and-a-half hours with no food or water at all,” Ray told PTI.

The flight captain then instructed all passengers to de- board without any explanation, he added. “When passengers refused to deboard due to heavy rains outside, the captain put the air-conditioning blower on full blast to hound the passengers out. It created a scary scene as heavy fog was created inside the plane and it was very suffocating,” Ray had said. He further said that many women passengers started vomiting and children were crying. In a video that he uploaded on his Facebook profile, it was seen that passengers were arguing with on-board staff for switching off the blower.

“This is the way Aviation industry works in India. This #AirAsiaservice was particularly scary … Avoid Air Asia,” Ray said in the video post on Facebook. When contacted, the AirAsia India issued a statement and accepted that the flight was delayed and expressed regrets. “AirAsia India would like to confirm that flight i5583 from Kolkata to Bagdogra was delayed by 4.5 hours due to a technical requirement. AirAsia regrets the inconvenience caused to guests on account of this disruption and would like to reinstate that the airline always prioritizes safety above all,” the company said.

It further said that there was no danger to any of the occupants on-board the aircraft as the cool conditioned air being circulated was condensing. “This is a normal occurrence on-board all aircraft when the air conditioning is operate in high humidity conditions,” the statement said. The company also claimed that all the affected guests were offered refreshments and provided with alternate arrangements requested for. Ray, however, countered that and said the airline had asked them to go to the food court in the airport after deplaning them and show the boarding passes to get food. “When we reached the food court, they refused us. There was no communication from AirAsia at all. We had to pay. When we were boarding the flight second time, then they gave us one sandwich and a 250 ml water bottle. This is an unacceptable treatment,” he said. PTI

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