AI Faces Heat: DGCA Notice for San Francisco Flight Delays

The DGCA issued a show cause notice to Air India after passengers fainted on a delayed flight to San Francisco due to a lack of air conditioning.

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The Ministry asked Air India to explain why they didn't make arrangements to alleviate passengers' suffering despite Delhi's temperatures exceeding 50 degrees

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AI in Hot Seat: DGCA Probes San Francisco Flight Delays

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a show cause notice to Air India after several passengers fainted while waiting onboard an aircraft without air-conditioning in hot Delhi. This incident occurred as the passengers were waiting for their San Francisco (SFO)-bound flight to take off on Thursday. After being allowed to disembark, the passengers had to wait at Indira Gandhi International Airport's Terminal 3 (IGIA's T3), with many sleeping on the floor, before being provided with hotel accommodations. The passengers were supposed to fly from Delhi to San Francisco on flight AI 183 at 3:30 pm on Thursday, but the flight has not taken off till now. This prolonged delay has added to the passengers' dissatisfaction with Air India's service.

“Operational reasons” led to the delay in flight's departure from the national capital's IGI Airport, sources in the former flag carrier said

The show cause notice from the ministry is related to two separate incidents of delays: AI 179 (Mumbai-SFO) on May 24 and AI 183 (Delhi-SFO) on May 30. Both flights experienced significant delays, with passengers enduring uncomfortable conditions due to inadequate cooling in the cabin. The DGCA notice highlights that Air India has repeatedly caused discomfort to passengers, violating various DGCA provisions. The airline violates regulations concerning facilities to be provided to passengers in cases of denied boarding, flight cancellations, and delays. The DGCA has called upon Air India to explain why enforcement action should not be taken against the airline for these violations. Air India has been given three days to respond to the notice, failing which the matter will be processed without their input.

Originally set for 3:30 pm on Thursday, the flight was rescheduled to 8 pm and then to Friday afternoon

The incident involving flight AI 183 began when over 200 passengers arrived at Terminal 3 on Thursday morning for their 3:30 pm departure. However, a technical issue was discovered in the Boeing 777 scheduled to operate the flight. Passenger boarding commenced at 7 pm but was halted when pilots suspected another problem with the aircraft. After an inspection, it was determined that the plane could not operate the flight and had to undergo further checks, causing the extensive delay.

The DGCA notice mentioned the significant delays of two international flights: AI 183 from Delhi to San Francisco on May 30 and AI 179 from Mumbai to San Francisco on May 24

In response to the delay and the ministry's notice, Air India acknowledged the situation but denied that passengers fainted inside the aircraft. The airline offered affected passengers a full refund, complimentary rescheduling, and hotel accommodations. The rescheduled departure time was set for 11 am on Friday but was further delayed. Air India did not comment on the ministry's show cause notice or the passenger grievances.

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