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Airline Accused of Delaying Yet Another Flight to Accommodate Tardy Politicos

The latest incident of India’s flag carrier making a plane full of passengers wait for an influential politician to arrive has incensed the flying public.

Passengers on an Air India flight from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) on Monday told NDTV News that their flight was delayed for nearly an hour while the crew waited for a member of a high-profile politician’s entourage to board.

The incident is garnering a lot of media attention at a time filled with accusations that celebrities and politicians in India are receiving VIP treatment in everything from government services to medical care and transportation at the expense of everyday citizens.

In this latest case, it seems the flight was delayed while an aide to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had an expired passport replaced and delivered to the gate. The Chief Minister and his entourage were flying to the U.S. as part of an official delegation.

Fadnavis, accused of using his influence to make an international flight wait for his aide to board, denies any wrongdoing. He tweeted the following stern rebuke shortly after the incident:

In a statement to NDTV, Air India claims the delay was “partly due to technical and operational reasons, and also the ATC (Air Traffic Controller).” Unnamed sources at the airline, however, confirmed that because Pardeshi had already been issued a boarding pass, there was no choice but to delay the flight while the bureaucrat’s passport issue was resolved.

In February, Air India made headlines after delaying a flight to wait for a Member of Parliament who was allegedly shopping at airport clothing stores while passengers waited on the plane for her arrival before the flight was allowed to depart nearly an hour late.

[Photo: Fadnavis via Twitter]

Comments are Closed.
gum July 3, 2015

Comment is now restored, thank you!

gum July 2, 2015

What baffles me most is that my comment dated July 1st, 2015 was simply censored by FT. Its content was a hint to the low-level of the article. The deletion is against the policy of free speech.

vishalgupta22 July 1, 2015

What baffles me most was that the big shot was issued a BP with a expired passport. Seriously?

emcampbe July 1, 2015

Well, when I was in India last year, it seemed pretty clear that AI does delay flights for politicians, being government-owned there. Reports were also that the government was going to make rules to force all Indian carriers to do the same, after some MP missed a connection on one of the private carriers (Indigo or SpiceJet, I think). Though that was pre-Modi - not sure if there was any change in that plan (or if it was just an unfounded media report). Truth is, when I was in India, flying AI (though I can only speak of domestic, and being BOM-based, probably not as much of an issue as being DEL-based), i was on time or close to on time with all of their flights. Faced way more and much more severe delays on Indigo.

Sabai July 1, 2015

Nothing unusual about this iin the third world; every minister is a rock star in their mind. Who let AI into *A? That's the real puzzler.