DGCA Issues Show Cause Notice To Air India Over 'Inordinate Delay' And 'Discomfort' To Passengers

"Repeated incidences of passengers being put to discomfort by M/s Air India in violation of various DGCA CAR provisions have come to notice," the notice said.

File Photo
The San Francisco-bound flight AI-183 was delayed by over 20 hours| File Photo

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday issued a show cause notice to Air India for the inordinate delay of at least two international flights and failure to take necessary care of passengers.

This comes just after a San Francisco-bound Air India flight from Delhi was delayed by over 20 hours on Thursday. The flight which should have taken off around 15:30 pm on Thursday got rescheduled to Friday afternoon.

The aviation watchdog took notice that flight AI-179 and flight AI-183 were "inordinately delated and passengers were put to discomfort due to insufficient cooling in the cabin".

The show cause notice said, "Repeated incidences of passengers being put to discomfort by M/s Air India in violation of various DGCA CAR provisions have come to notice."

An official noted that Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia took cognisance of the flight delays and inconvenience caused to passengers, following which the aviation watchdog issued the notice.

Air India is "time and again failing in taking due care of passengers", and not complying with its provisions related to 'Facilities to be provided to passengers by airlines due to denied boarding, cancellation of flights and delays in flights", the aviation regulator noted.

The airline has been asked to show why any enforcement action should not be initiated against it. Air India is required to respond to the show cause notice within three days of its issuance date, failing which DGCA will process the matter ex-parte, it said.

Notably, one of the passengers scheduled to take off in the San Francisco-bound flight from the national capital, said that they had to wait for around an hour in the aerobridge.

Nearly 200 passengers were onboard the Boeing 777 aircraft that was to operate flight AI-183. At first, the aircraft was changed due to a technical glitch and the passengers boarded another plane, wherein the air-conditioning was not working. This then led to the fainting of some of those onboard, a passenger told PTI.

The plane had elderly people and children, who were feeling uneasy. Later, at around 10:00 pm on Thursday, the flight was rescheduled, she added.

An official of the airline said that the aircraft developed some technical issue and engineering checks were carried out. However, the delay led to the crew crossing the Flight Duty Time Limitation (FDTL).

Even if the flight had taken off, it would have reached San Francisco when there were night landing restrictions there, the official added.

One of the passengers had claimed that the airline did not offer to reschedule or cancel the bookings. But, the airline official claimed that passengers were offered the options of full refund, complimentary rescheduling and hotel accommodation.

This is the second time in one week that Air India passengers on a San Francisco flight have gone through a hard time due to inordinate delay.

Notably, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) had in March issued new guidelines that will allow exit of passengers from an aircraft through an airport departure gate in case there is a long delay in operating the flight after boarding.

The aviation security watchdog's directives came in the backdrop of complaints over rising instances of congestion and flight delays.

(With agency inputs)