Kerala

AI flight takes off leaving Kerala Governor behind

Air India courted a controversy after its flight bound for Thiruvananthapuram flew out of the Cochin International Airport Limited on Tuesday night without Governor P. Sathasivam who was scheduled to board it.

Mr. Sathasivam who was to return to the capital after attending a function at Thrissur eventually stayed back at Ernakulam guesthouse after missing the flight.

According to police, the captain of the flight allegedly shut the door after information was relayed to him that the Governor had crossed the bridge on the Airport road hardly a kilometre from the airport.

The flight had just pushed back when the Governor’s car had reached the tarmac. The flight remained in the bay for a couple of minutes giving the impression that the Governor may be allowed to board, police said. But that was not to be the case.

It is not clear whether a miscommunication over the departure time of the flight or lack of communication between the ground level officials of the airline and the captain eventually resulted in the unfortunate incident. Police said communication had taken place between the protocol officer and the airline officials.

Airline’s officials on the ground were supposed to inform the captain about the arrival of the Governor.

It is being pointed out that the incident could have been averted had a high level of caution was maintained by the airline officials concerned with regard to the VIP movement on their flight. Had they maintained constant follow-up about the Governor’s arrival, the unfortunate incident would not have taken place.

In fact, the flight, AI 048, which was originally scheduled to arrive at CIAL at 9.10 p.m. and depart at 9.40 had arrived only at 10.57 p.m. and took off at 11.25 p.m. So, the flight was already delayed and another couple of minutes for the first citizen of the State would have hardly made any difference, it is being pointed out.

Sources at the Raj Bhavan said that the pilot was kept in the loop about the Governor’s impending arrival at the airport. “We understand that the ground crew of the national airline had repeatedly informed the pilot that the Governor was en route to the airport. They could have waited for just one more minute. The Governor’s car reached the tarmac seconds after the aircraft’s doors were closed and the stairway removed,” a Raj Bhavan official told The Hindu.

The Governor reached Thiruvananthapuram by road on Wednesday morning.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 2:39:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/air-india-flight-takes-off-leaving-kerala-governor-p-sathasivam-behind/article8022043.ece

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