About 180 passengers due to fly to Dubai from Pune, Maharashtra on a SpiceJet flight endured a long night when their flight was delayed by 14 hours.
According to a complaint filed by one of those due to fly, the passengers spent four hours of the prolonged delay on board the aircraft, with little information as to why the flight was delayed.
The flight, due to depart at 8pm, was initially delayed by 2 hours, due to late arrival of the inbound flight.
“After boarding, we sat in the aircraft for close to four hours, but it did not take off,” Indian media reported quoted one of the passengers as saying.
“When the passengers lost patience, the captain of the flight came out. The crew then informed us that there was a technical issue and we will be deboarded. Around 3am we were taken off the flight.”
Some passengers, tired of long wait and no information on when and whether the flight would finally leave for Dubai, cancelled their tickets and went home.
The message being relayed by the airline’s ground staff was that there was a “technical snag”, without providing any clear information on the likely departure time or alternate plans for us, another stranded passenger said.
An official statement issued by SpiceJet said the SG 51 operating Pune to Dubai was “delayed due to a technical issue”.
Further delays were caused by crew flight duty time limitations (FDTL). The flight eventually departed at 10.30am on Monday.
“SpiceJet apologises for the inconvenience caused to passengers due to this technical delay,” the statement added.
According to an airline source, the technical snag was due to a faulty part of the aircraft (SG 51), which had to be replaced. The part had to be brought from another airport.
“It was a creeping delay, with the engineering department kept indicating delay of 15-20 minutes, several times. Once the passengers are de-boarded, it takes minimum 2 hours for completing the boarding procedures. By the time, the aircraft was ready for operation, the pilots faced a legal issue – FDTL, and we had to arrange for replacement crew to fly the aircraft,” an airline source told Arabian Business.
By the time the alternate crew was arranged, the runway at Pune airport - a defence airport - was closed for civilian flights from 8am to 10.30am, causing further delay in its departure.
SpiceJet is another airline affected by the grounding of its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. As the issue occurred late at night, all other aircraft returned to their bases for maintenance checks.
Sources in SpiceJet said the carrier has applied for an additional 24 aircraft on lease, 5 of which have already been delivered. Once the airline gets the rest of the aircraft, it will be able to avoid such long delays, as happened in the case of Pune-Dubai flight, the source said.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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