Bad weather in Gulf hampering operations:AI

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Kochi, Nov 18 (UNI) Air India today said its flights to and from the Gulf region are being delayed due to the ''bad weather conditions'' in the Middle-East and urged passengers to cooperate with the airline's efforts to streamline its services.

Addressing a press conference here this evening, Air India Station Manager, Kochi, Jude Crasto, and Airport Manager M V Joseph, said that the operations of all airlines had been thrown into a disarray following ''dense fog'' in Dubai and other Middle-East areas in the past few days.

Stating that such weather conditions were ''unprecedented'' in the region, they said the airport operations had been thrown out of gear and thousands of passengers of various airlines were stranded at the Dubai airport.

Mr Crasto said Air India, which alongwith its low cost carrier Air India Express, operated 24 daily flights between India and the Gulf, was trying its best to alert the passengers about the flight delays.

However, absence of relevant contact numbers was hampering the airline's efforts to inform the passengers in time, he said.

Strict DGCA guidelines, which stipulated a 12-hour rest for pilots after a 12-duty, was also hampering the airline's Gulf flights as pilots could not fly back within the 12-hour duty period due to fog.

Regarding the offloading of passenges on a Dubai-Kozhikode flight at Thiruvananthapuram yesterday, he said this was mainly because of the fact that the runway at Kozhikode was out of bounds between 2200 hrs and 0600 hrs. due to runway repairs.

''The airline made taxi arrangements for 20 of the 26 stranded passenges and accommodated the remaining six in another flight,'' he said.

UNI

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