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“Can’t Keep Passengers Waiting Indefinitely”: Minister On Air India Delay

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Airport operators and airlines have to be customer-oriented and making passengers wait for eight hours, be in a plane or the terminal, is unacceptable, Union aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has said.

Speaking to NDTV in an exclusive interview, Mr Scindia said he was only reinforcing the message sent in December 2022. Customers, he added, should be kept abreast of developments and given a choice to continue their flight or not, whatever problems the airline is facing.

The minister's comments come in the backdrop of the 20-hour delay in a San Francisco-bound Air India flight yesterday, that saw passengers being made to wait inside an aircraft despite the absence of air-conditioning. Amid the unprecedented heat wave currently on in the national capital, many passengers were taken ill.

Visuals from the airport showed many passengers lying down along an aerobridge corridor. Others complained about fainting inside the plane. The plane finally took off at 3 pm today. The airline has received a showcause notice from the ministry.

"If the flight delay extends beyond a period of time, then you must cancel the flight and reschedule and thereby alleviate the sufferings of passengers," the minister told NDTV today.

"If any passenger has to wait for eight hours — and mind you the time is enough for a Mumbai-London flight or a Delhi-London flight — waiting inside the aircraft with no air-conditioning or waiting inside the terminal with no facilities, unfortunately that is unacceptable to me," he added.

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