AI CMD admits ''lack of timely information'' to passengers

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Kochi, Nov 20 (UNI) Air India CMD V Thulasidas today said the disruption in flight schedules in the past few days was caused by reasons beyond the national carrier's control but admitted that AI officials had defaulted in not keeping passengers well informed.

Talking to reporters here, Mr Thulasidas said ''unprecedented dense fog'' in Dubai and Abu Dhabi had thrown the schedules of all airlines haywire.

''We are not the only airline whose flights have been cancelled or delayed. But, because we operate the largest number of flights from India, any disruption affects us more than others and is highlighted more,'' he said.

However, the AI CMD admitted that the airline officials' failure to maintain public contact, either directly or through the media, had resulted in greater inconvenience to the passengers.

''I agree that timely information needs to be given to the passengers. Our public relations set up needs to be revamped at all important airports and the media management also needs to be improved,'' he said.

On the airline's failure to provide suitable accommodation to stranded passengers in Dubai, Mr Thulasidas said this was mainly because all hotel rooms in the emirate were full. The airline could not find rooms even for its crew, he said.

Appealing to passengers not to vent their ire by refusing to alight from aircraft on reaching their destination, as happened in Kochi two days ago, he said this led to further delays and had a ''cascading effect'' on subsequent flights.'' Besides the bad weather over the Gulf, the pilots 'flight duty time limitation', stipulated by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, also resulted in delays as it was mandatory for the airline to give a 12-hour rest to a pilot, who had been on duty for 12 hours. ''This is a safety regulation which we cannot breach in the passengers' own interest,'' he added.

UNI

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