Thursday, June 18, 2015

Impact: Civil Aviation Ministry To Review 'U-turn Mystery'

By Sushil Khurana in Delhi
A day after INNLIVE reported about the U-turn taken by a United Airlines flight at Delhi’s IGI Airport - after on the orders of an Indian government agency - the Ministry of Civil Aviation has decided to review the incident.

The airline has been asked to submit a report as well. According to sources, the ministry has also asked the ATC and AOCC to provide the details of records for the purpose of investigating the matter.

The flight UA-83 of the United Airlines was allegedly asked to abort the take-off, following which two unidentified persons boarded the flight. As a result the flight was delayed by about 46 minutes.

The flight finally took off at 12.21am, though there are discrepancies about the exact time of departure. 

“The ministry of civil aviation is reviewing the incident and has asked the airline to submit a report. The ministry has also asked other agencies to provide them with facts and records of the aircraft’s movement from the time it arrived at the IGI Airport till it took off. 

The ministry will decide on necessary actions after analysing the detailed report and other facts related to the incident. Prima facie it seems that airline did not handle the situation properly. The officials are also trying find out as to who asked the pilots to abort the take off at the last moment,” a top ministry official told INNLIVE. 

Meanwhile, it appears that the airline and Immigration department made a goof-up that led to the situation. 

“Initially it was found that the airline operated the flight without obtaining proper clearances but they had the departure permission from the Immigration. Later, the Immigration Bureau officials raised questions about the permission and asked the airline to abort the take-off,” sources told INNLIVE. 

Then the pilots on their own aborted the take off, an official added. 

The Immigration Bureau is tight-lipped about the incident. Despite repeated efforts by INNLIVE, the FRRO in Delhi didn’t reply to calls and text messages. 

On Wednesday INNLIVE had reported that on Saturday night flight UA-83 was forced to abort the take off at around 11.35pm following a phone call from an Indian government agency. 

The aircraft had already begun taxiing when the order to make a U-turn was given to the pilots. The aircraft then returned to the boarding area and two men were embarked. 

While the United Airlines refused to divulge the identity of the two men, it was claimed that the Immigration department wanted them to be deported to the US. 

However, informed sources pointed out that the airline’s claim fell flat because the entire process of deportation could have been completed earlier when the aircraft was waiting at the airport since 9.30pm.

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