Air India springs a nasty surprise

Services to Delhi curtailed

July 21, 2018 01:10 am | Updated 01:10 am IST - VIJAYAWADA

Air India has abruptly suspended operation of flights connecting Vijayawada and Delhi in both directions for three days in a week for varying periods, causing untold hardship to people who had booked their tickets in advance.

The flight to Delhi (AI 460) which takes off from the Gannavaram airport at 9 a.m. and the one to Vijayawada (AI 459), which takes off at 6 a.m., have been suspended for three days in a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday), from July 15 till September 30.

Besides, the Vijayawada-Delhi (AI 468) flight which starts at 8.40 p.m and the Delhi-Vijayawada (AI 467) flight which starts at 5.30 p.m, have also been suspended on Saturdays from July 15 till July 28.

B. Dhanasekaran, Manager (Operations), Air India, said orders received from the higher-ups cited ‘operational reasons’ for the decision.

He said there was no occupancy issue as all three flights starting from Vijayawada were doing very well with full occupancy on all days.

High-occupancy routes

“NRIs travelling to the U.S. and returning to the city from there regularly use these flights. These direct flights are also preferred mode of travel for MPs and politicians commuting between Vijayawada and Delhi and local industrialists who are now put to heavy inconvenience,” said K. Lakshminarayana, Chairman, Tourism Committee, the Andhra Pradesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry Federation (APCCIF).

Unofficial sources, however, said AI has temporarily suspended part of its operations from the city to cater to the Haj pilgrims’ traffic, a reason that has not gone down well with the passengers.

“Withdrawal of operations in high-occupancy routes makes little sense when they have the option of reducing the number of flights in low-occupancy routes,” rues Rajendran Minnal, a frequent user of the Vijayawada-Delhi flight.

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