Another AI flight delay in Kerala irks passengers

Air India continued to face heat over flight delays as around 40 Kochi-bound passengers protested against non-availability of a connecting service following delayed arrival of their Dammam-Calicut flight here.

The passengers of the Air India Express IX382 from Dammam in Saudi Arabia arrived at the Karipur International Airport here at 4.30 AM an hour behind schedule, the airline sources said.

Agitated over missing the IX474 Baharain-Calicut-Kochi connecting flight which left at scheduled time of 4.05 AM, the stranded passengers picked up an argument with airline staff. However, the passengers were sent to Kochi by road in taxis, they said.

An AI spokesperson at Kochi said the passengers were sent by taxies to their destinations in Thirssur and Guruvayur. "When we have disruptions, we make alternative arrangements. Air India and AIE are being unfairly targeted", the spokesperson told PTI.

Air India and AIE operate 45 departures and arrivals in Kerala per day from the three airports in Kozhikode, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. This kind of "mammoth operation", no other airlines was providing, he said.

Today's incident is the third instance of Air India passengers being put to inconvenience due to flight delays in the state since last week. On October 19, an hijack alarm was triggered by a woman pilot in panic after agitated passengers of an Abu Dhabi-Kochi bound AI flight allegedly stormed the cockpit after it was diverted to Thiruvananthapuram due to poor visibility.

Very next day a Kochi-bound flight from Bahrain took nearly 20 hours to reach its destination following technical snags and bad weather, prompting the passengers to stage a protest.

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