Stranded air travellers fume at authorities

Stranded air travellers  fume at authorities

Nearly 75 domestic flights were delayed and around 10 cancelled at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, with the fog problem compounded by a fault in the instrument landing system.

Some 20 international flights bound to Delhi were diverted to Mumbai, Jaipur and Ahmedabad. Among them were those from London, Jeddah and Toronto that were diverted to Mumbai.

“There is absolutely no information about what they intend to do,” said Tonusree Basu, a passenger of a London-New Delhi Air India flight that was diverted to Mumbai, while complaining about the lack of communication from the authorities.

“We are all very tired. We are up since Friday evening. But there is no place to sit here. They gave us food coupons. But there is no energy left to face such a long queue,” said Basu, who works for a think tank in New Delhi.

“At least 50 of my co-passengers have missed their connecting flights to Kolkata and other destinations. The least I expect is to be told about the arrangements that were being made.”

Seeing the chaos and lack of arrangements at the Mumbai airport, some 75 passengers who were returning from Jeddah raised slogans against Air India and the airport management. They were further irked on finding some coffee shops and restaurants shut. Like commoners, politicians also had to bare with the chaos. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, too, had to endure a delay, when his flight to New Delhi, which was originally scheduled to leave Chennai at 10 am, finally left at 1:30 pm.

According to officials in Delhi, the instrument landing system that provides the visibility data to ATC for take-offs and landing during fog could not be used because of a fault in one of its components.

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