Pas­sen­ger grouse against flight dis­rup­tions hits new high in Oct

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - METRO - Soub­hik Mi­tra

MUM­BAI: Air trav­ellers’ ire over flight dis­rup­tions caused by air­craft snags saw a steady rise in Oc­to­ber over the pre­vi­ous month.

Ac­cord­ing to data from the civil avi­a­tion min­istry at least one-third fliers’ com­plaints recorded by do­mes­tic air­lines last month com­prise grouse over flight prob­lems.

This also com­prised ma­jor­ity of the com­plaints fol­lowed by cus­tomer ser­vice (24.5) and bag­gage prob­lems (21.9%).

Com­plaints over snagin­duced dis­rup­tions also saw a sharp spike last month over the pre­vi­ous two months. From ac­count­ing for 24.2% com­plaints in Au­gust and Septem­ber, grouses on this is­sue rose to 33% last month.

“We are plan­ning to ad­dress the con­cerns in our monthly meet­ing with stake­hold­ers. We can­not af­ford to have too many air­craft snags dur­ing the up­com­ing fog sea­son,” said a se­nior civil avi­a­tion min­istry of­fi­cial re­quest­ing anonymity.

The of­fi­cial added that De­cem­ber and Jan­uary are ex­tremely chal­leng­ing months for smooth air travel in the coun­try as of­ten thick fog in north­ern In­dia slows flight move­ments in the first half of the day.

While De­cem­ber recorded close to 1.90 lakh pas­sen­gers who faced last minute flight can­cel­la­tions or de­lays ex­ceed­ing two hours, the num­ber rose to 2.09 lakh in Jan­uary, ac­cord­ing to data from the min­istry.

The min­istry data also showed that snags were also re­spon­si­ble for more than four out of 10 flight can­cel­la­tion recorded by do­mes­tic air­lines.

“The data raises a larger con­cern of poorly main­tained air­craft fleet,” said a for­mer mem­ber of a govern­ment ap­pointed in­de­pen­dent air safety panel re­quest­ing ano nymity.

The air safety ex­pert added “The Direc­torate Gen­eral of Civil Avi­a­tion (DGCA) re­cently con­ducted an emer­gency au­dit of Air In­dia af­ter two back to-back in­ci­dents on air­craft catch­ing fire. They should con duct sim­i­lar au­dits on other air­lines.”

Air­line failed to close 97 com­plaints of the 727 com plaints recorded by the regu la­tor last month.

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