Security officials at the Cochin airport late on Monday prevented three officials of the Italian Embassy who had been on board an Air India flight to Thiruvananthapuram from disembarking at Kochi.

According to official sources, the Embassy officials had boarded the flight AI 465 from Delhi to Thiruvananthapuram via Kochi and were bound to de-board at Thiruvananthapuram. However, they insisted on disembarking at Kochi after the aircraft landed here for a brief stop over by 8.45 p.m.

And despite repeated warnings from the cabin crew, they managed to get out of the aircraft. However, they were stopped at the ladder point by the airport security personnel and were forcibly taken into the aircraft following negotiations with the airline authorities.

“The embassy officials appeared furious but the airline and security personnel were in no mood to yield and they finally returned to the aircraft,” an airport official said. According to him, the booking details of the passengers clearly showed that they had purchased tickets to a destination beyond Kochi.

25-minute stand-off

The stand-off that continued for over 25 minutes, also delayed the flight's onward journey by about half-an-hour and the aircraft departed to Thiruvananthapuram by 9.30 p.m.

Though confirmed to be officials of the Italian Embassy, the names and designations of the officials were unavailable.