For want of pilot, AI flight delayed for nearly 2 hrs

For want of pilot, AI flight delayed for nearly 2 hrs

For want of a pilot, an Air India flight to Bhubaneswar was delayed today for nearly two hours making it the second time in four days where passengers of the state-owned carrier were left stranded for reasons other than bad weather.

Last Friday, one of the airline's flights to Odisha capital was delayed by eight hours as Air India had allegedly assigned the aircraft and crew of that plane to its Bhopal flight to favour some VIPs including a BJP Minister from Madhya Pradesh.

An NHRC delegation was among the passengers who were on board the Bhubaneswar-bound flight this morning. Air India flight AI-75 was scheduled to depart for Bhubaneswar at 11 AM. The National Human Rights Commission's (NHRC) delegation was going there for conducting a state-level workshop on bonded labour.

However, the passengers of this flight had to wait inside the aircraft for almost 1 hour and 45 minutes due to the non-availability of flight crew, sources said.

"All the passengers including the NHRC delegation checked in on-time. However, it failed to take off as there was no pilot available to fly the plane. During this period, the passengers remained seated in the aircraft," the source said.

The workshop is scheduled to be held tomorrow. "Unfortunately, there was no word from the airline staff on the expected take off time," the source said, adding the flight could take off only at 2.45 PM after the passengers protested and demanded that the airline arrange the flight crew. An Air India spokesperson declined to respond to questions on today's delay.

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