Hyderabad: At a time when people of Hyderabad are looking to meeting their loved ones for Christmas or ring in a New Year in a different city, the delays and flux in flight schedules have thrown a wet blanket over their plans. Over the last two weeks, several flights of various carriers including Spicejet, GoAir and Indigo Airlines were either cancelled or delayed. This has, in turn, triggered an uproar by air travellers on social media.
Akschaya Bhatia, an air traveller, angrily complained to the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), quite clearly perturbed by lack of communication from the air travel service provider, saying “Travelled to Delhi from Hyderabad yesterday. First, the flight got cancelled, then was rescheduled thrice. After we landed, they lost my check-in bag. They are not responding now.”
Similarly, P. Vivek, another angry airline passenger, took to social media to ask where his flight was as there was no response from the airline.
Another traveller, Santosh Reddy, said, “My flight to Delhi from Hyderabad, G8-424, on Dec 27 got cancelled. I got an email from you guys for booking another flight. I tried contacting on customer care numbers provided. Call queue doesn’t seem to finish. Can you help in quick resolution of this issue?”
While the airline suggest that the flights were being delayed or cancelled because of inclement weather and poor visibility, officials at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) say that the climate was clear for flights to land and take off.
“On Christmas day, there were no delays in takeoff or landing of flights. Things progressed smoothly at the airport. There were no untoward incidents,” an official said, requesting anonymity.
The airport official, however, alleged that there were several services that were pulled up by the DGCA for not having the prescribed number of pilots. Instead, they were just over-working existing pilots they have on their rolls. One such service provider, GoAir, is reportedly low on air-staff.
When contacted, a spokesperson for GoAir told this newspaper, “A combination of factors such as inclement weather and low visibility in certain parts of the country has disrupted multiple flights across GoAir’s network. This was further aggravated with flight duty time limitations (FDTL) of the crew.”
The spokesperson further said that the airline had initiated all possible steps to minimize inconvenience to passengers, including exploring alternate flight arrangements to minimize the disruptive impact, free cancellation and re-booking options being offered to all affected passengers.
As per the DGCA norms, for a flight time of eight hours, the duty period shall be 12 hours in any period of 24 consecutive hours. For night operations of nine hours, the duty shall be for 12.5 hours in any period of 24 consecutive hours....