Latecomer VIPs delay flight

NEW DELHI (TIP): Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir Nirmal Singh were caught in a controversy on July 2 following reports that an Air India flight was delayed due to their late arrival.

Some fliers, including a senior official, were offloaded to accommodate them.

The Air Traffic Controller of Leh confirmed that on June 24, flight AI 446 to Delhi was delayed to accommodate the Union minister, says a report by the Indian Air Force that runs the 21 Wing ATC at Leh.

The Prime Minister’s Office has asked the Ministry of Civil Aviation for a report on delay in Air India flights on account of VIP travels in the recent past. The Civil Aviation Ministry, in turn, has sought a report from Air India on the two incidents at Leh and Mumbai. The Mumbai incident involves a US-bound delegation of the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis earlier this week.

The Leh-Delhi flight was to depart at 11:20 am, but the schedule was later revised to 10:20 am as it reached early. The flight was held for almost 50 minutes.

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It finally took off at 11:12 am after at least three passengers, including an Indian Foreign Service officer, were not permitted to fly. Because of the rarefied atmosphere, flights from Leh maintain a permissible weight limit as overloaded flights cannot take off due to low air pressure.

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