Odisha News Insight

PMO asks Civil Aviation Ministry for report on VIP Delays

Kiren Rijiju - Civil Aviation MinistryThe Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday asked the civil aviation ministry for a report on the delay in Air India flights on account of VIP travels.

“PMO India asks Ministry of Civil Aviation for a report on delay in #AirIndia flights on account of VIP travels in the recent past,” Press Information Bureau chief Frank Noronha tweeted.

A controversy was triggered after three passengers were reportedly taken off a flight from Leh in order to accommodate Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and an aide last week.

On Thursday, Rijiju clarified that he was unaware that an Air India flight was allegedly delayed and three passengers made to de-board to accommodate him and an aide at the last minute.

“Usually, I am informed about all my travel arrangements while I am on an official assignment,” Rijiju told IANS from Darjeeling, where he has gone to check the damage caused by landslides in the district.

“But I can’t be blamed for the happening as the Leh administration didn’t inform me on what basis they were making the changes to accommodate me on the Air India flight,” the minister added.

“It is obvious that if I was informed about the changes by causing problems to passengers, then I would have definitely stopped it from happening.”

Rijiju was in Leh on June 24 to attend the “Sindhu Darshan” festival. But due to bad weather, the helicopter in which he had gone there could not take off and last minute arrangements were made to accommodate him and his aide on Air India flight AI-446.

Earlier this week, an Air India flight from Mumbai to New York, with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on board, was reportedly delayed by nearly an hour. This was allegedly done to accommodate a member of his entourage.

While Fadnavis denied any such hold-up, Air India confirmed the delay, albeit for different reasons.

“The flight AI-191 of 29th of June 15 was delayed by total 57 minutes. The delay was partly due to technical/operational reasons and also due to ATC (air traffic control),” an airline official said in a statement. (IANS)

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