Several SpiceJet passengers who disembarked from a Hyderabad-Delhi flight on Saturday night were forced to walk on the tarmac as the airline could not provide a bus to take them to the terminal for 45 minutes.
The airline’s continued struggle to provide adequate service recently earned it rebuke from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The Indian aviation watchdog is also investigating the latest incident.
However, SpiceJet said there was a brief delay in the arrival of coaches and all the passengers, including those who had begun walking, travelled on them to the terminal building once the buses came.
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“Despite repeated requests from our staff, a few passengers started walking towards the terminal,” the airline said.
“They had barely walked a few metres when the coaches arrived. All passengers, including those who had started walking, travelled on the coaches to the terminal building. Passengers are not allowed to walk on the Delhi airport’s tarmac area as it is a security risk. There is a demarcated path on the tarmac for vehicles only. Therefore, the airlines use buses to take passengers from terminal to aircraft or vice versa using the demarcated path.”
The DGCA recently sanctioned SpiceJet and forced it to operate not more than 50% of its flights. In July, the regulator imposed the curb on the flights for eight weeks as its planes were involved in at least eight cases of technical malfunction between June 19 and July 5.
The Hyderabad-Delhi flight landed at 11.24 PM on Saturday with 186 passengers on board. One bus came immediately and took some passengers to Terminal 3.
The rest of the passengers waited for 45 minutes. As they didn’t see any bus coming, they started walking towards the terminal — about 1.5 km away.
After the passengers had walked for around 11 minutes, a bus came around 12.20 PM to take them to the terminal.
SpiceJet said in a statement: “The information that passengers of SpiceJet flight Hyderabad-Delhi on 6th August were forced to walk towards the terminal on foot is wrong and is denied.”
With inputs from PTI