Dozens of passengers on an Indian commercial plane bound for New Delhi decided to have their dinner on the airport tarmac in Mumbai on Sunday after thick fog at the Delhi airport forced the flight crew to divert the flight.
Photos and videos shared on social media showed people sitting right next to their IndiGo flight and eating their meals on the tarmac in what has sparked a debate on airlines guidelines in the event of extreme weather.
A thick layer of fog enveloped the Indian national capital which is in the grip of a severe cold wave, resulting in massive disruption of flights and railway services to New Delhi.
On Monday, 463 flights leaving Delhi were delayed and 87 were cancelled, while a day earlier, more than 500 planes departing and arriving in Delhi were delayed.
Weather conditions have interfered with the travel plans of thousands who are either left waiting at the airport or inside the aircraft after boarding as the operators along with air traffic controllers waited for the visibility on the runway to improve.
According to reports, passengers on an IndiGo flight from Goa rejected the flight attendants and ground staff’s directions to alight from the plane and get inside a terminal at the Mumbai airport.
Ground staff connected the stepladder to the aircraft and the passengers were asked to alight. Though the airline had kept food packets in the coach (the bus that would carry them to terminal one building), the passengers refused to get in and proceeded to have the meals on the tarmac.
The crowd was taken off the tarmac with the help of federal police officials of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) who were called in by the airport authorities, the report added.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has issued show cause notices to both Indigo and Mumbai airport after the images of the passengers went viral on social media.
The flight finally departed for Delhi after a delay of over 12 hours. The airline issued a statement after similar episodes of delays in departure and arrivals and confirmed its operations were impacted.
“On January 14th, large parts of India were faced by exceptionally severe fog, which had a significant impact on the operation of airports and airlines alike. Cancellations and delays had a cascading effect on rotations throughout the day, leading to further impact on operations,”…