New Delhi/London, Jan 8: In what can be said as a serious safety blunder, the debt-ridden national carrier Air India reportedly 'forgot' to schedule the roster for the pilots of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft at London's Heathrow Airport.
The shocking incident, which was reported by the TOI, happened on Tuesday evening when the twin-engine airliner landed at London airport, but there were no 'scheduled' pilots to fly it back to Delhi!
The scheduled departure could not take place and the aircraft had to be remain at the Heathrow airport for almost 12 hours. It is mandatory for the pilots to take at least 12 hours of uninterrupted rest, when they fly for longer routes, considering the flight safety, as per the norms set by the aviation regulator. [Air India has so far acquired 18 Dreamliner planes]
Both the pilots who flew the aircraft had already crossed their maximum permissible duty time.
200 passengers who had to board the Dreamliner were accommodated in various nearby hotels on Tuesday night, because of the unavailability of the pilots. [Air India takes cost cutting measures]
The aircraft had took off from the Delhi airport at 2.30 am and landed at Heathrow airport at 6 pm on Tuesday. It had to fly back to Delhi after an hour halt.
But due to the confusion in the airline's crew scheduling department, the flight took off on Wednesday, Jan 7 morning at 4 am, with the same crew and reached 12 hours later, from its scheduled time. [Will privatisation of ailing Air India bring Achhe Din?]
The Air India spokesperson explained the reason for the poor handling of the situation and regretted for the inconvenience caused to passengers.