Fliers stranded for over 14 hrs at Pune airport

Sushant Ranjan
Tuesday, 30 April 2019

“There were 186 passengers in the Economy Class and two in Executive Class. The passengers arrived at the airport around 6 pm on Sunday." said the airline source.

PUNE: In all, 188 passengers of SpiceJet had a harrowing experience at the Pune Airport on Sunday night after the Pune-Dubai SG51 flight was delayed by around 14 hours and 30 minutes. The flight was supposed to depart at 8 pm on Sunday but it departed at 10.30 am on Monday. 

A source at the airport said the flight was already delayed and arrived at 10.30 pm. The passengers were asked to board the aircraft. Later, the flight could not take off. The passengers were forced to sit for around four hours. When passengers asked the reason behind the delay, the cabin crew said there was some technical problem, which will be repaired soon. They were told that the flight will take off within an hour, but it did not. 

“There were 186 passengers in the Economy Class and two in Executive Class. The passengers arrived at the airport around 6 pm on Sunday. They waited till 10.30 pm. When the flight arrived, they were told to board the plane. It was already delayed for two-and-a-half hours. They were de-boarded at 2 am on Monday,” said the airline source.

The passengers were asked to sit in the arrival area. However, some passengers asked the airline staffers to either refund their fare or accommodate them on another flight. The staffers told them that there was no other flight for Dubai at that time. Passengers started raising slogans against the airline. Some passengers had a connecting flight from Dubai airport to Europe.

On the condition of anonymity, a passenger narrated his plight. “We were told that the flight was delayed by over two hours. While the passengers were getting seated, one could see the flight interiors being cleaned by the staff.

“We kept sitting on the flight for close to four hours however the flight did not take off. When the passengers lost patience and began to question, the captain walked out and the crew told the passengers that there was a technical issue. We were asked to deboard around 3 am.”

“However, the problem was resolved at 5 am on Monday. The passengers were told to board again. But later they got to know that the pilot went home after his duty. The passengers were again forced to wait till 8 am. However, there are no civil flight operations at Pune airport due to the regular practice of Indian Air Force aircraft till 10.30 am. Finally, the flight took off at 10.30 am,” said the source.

In a statement, SpiceJet said, “SpiceJet flight SG 51 operating from Pune to Dubai dated April 28,  2019, was delayed due to a technical issue. Crew FDTL and Notam at Pune airport further delayed the flight’s departure. The flight departed at 10:30 am today. SpiceJet apologised for the inconvenience caused to passengers due to this technical delay.”

In all, 189 persons, including the cabin crew and the pilots, had a narrow escape at 4.30 pm on Monday when a SpiceJet aircraft arriving from Delhi skidded off the runway on landing at the Shirdi airport, leading to halting of operations at the facility.

“The flight SG 946 Delhi-Shirdi skidded off the runway. All the passengers are safe. The rescue operation is underway. The runway has been closed temporarily,” said Deepak Shastri, Director of Shirdi Airport.

Sources said, the aircraft apparently touched down some 30-40 metres away from the landing spot and veered off the runway. The incident led to a complete halting of operations at the airport that serves mostly the pilgrims visiting the popular shrine.

A statement released by SpiceJet stated, “On April 29, 2019, SpiceJet B737-800 aircraft operated SG946 from Delhi to Shirdi. While landing at Shirdi, the aircraft overshot the runway. Passengers and crew are safe and are being deplaned.”

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