Kerala guv arrives late, misses flight

Kerala guv arrives late, misses flight
Air India was caught in a controversy after a Thiruvananthapuram-bound aircraft from Kochi took off Tuesday night without Kerala Governor P Sathasivam who was scheduled to board it.

Sources in Air India said the governor had arrived at the Cochin International Airport in Nedumbassery when the aircraft had already started pushing back; the aircraft–AI 048 arriving from Delhi–was already delayed by almost two hours.

Even as unconfirmed reports said the governor’s office was planning to formally take up the matter with the carrier officials, sources in Raj Bhavan refused to confirm the reports. The governor was returning to the state capital after attending an event at Thrissur.

Airport sources said the Delhi-Kochi-Thiruvananthapuram aircraft, originally scheduled for a 9:40 pm take-off from Kochi, arrived from Delhi only at 10:57 pm.

The departure had already been re-scheduled to 11 pm. The aircraft took off at 11:32 pm. By the time the governor arrived at the tarmac, the doors were closed and the aircraft had already started pushing back, an Air India official at the airport told Deccan Herald.

“He (the governor) understood the situation, there was no issue,” she said. Sathasivam had an overnight stay at Kochi and arrived here Wednesday morning, by road. Senior officials at the governor’s office refused to divulge plans to follow up on the incident. At about 1 pm, a Raj Bhavan official clarified to Deccan Herald that contrary to some of the television reports, no formal “complaint” was moved to Air India management. “Discussions are still on, we haven’t decided about taking up the matter with the authorities concerned,” the official said.

Reports said miscommunication between the airline officials and the captain could have led to the incident. A police official attached to the airport told Deccan Herald that information with regard to the aircraft’s departure was “constantly relayed” to the governor’s security officers.

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