Row over VIPs delaying AI flights: PMO seeks report

RSTV Bureau

Kiran_rijijuAfter a day of furore over “VIP treatment” being meted out to ministers on Air India flights in two separate incidents, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has intervened. PMO has sought an report from the Civil Aviation Ministry on the matter.

It has been alleged that Union Minister Kirren Rijiju and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis caused inconvenience and delay to passengers while boarding AI flights.

The PMO tweeted, saying that they have asked the “Ministry of Civil Aviation for a report on delay in Air India flights on account of VIP travels in the recent past”.

The Civil Aviation Ministry has also sought a report from Air India on the two incidents.

“We are awaiting reports on the (two) incidents from Air India,” Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said.

In the last couple of days, there have been allegations against both Rijiju and Fadnavis of delaying AI flights and causing inconvenience of fellow passengers.

The accusation against MoS Home, Kirren Rijiju is that 3 members of a family were off loaded from an AI flight (Leh-Delhi) to accommodate Rijiju. He was travelling with Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh and an aide. Rijiju’s boarding allegedly caused the flight some delay on June 24.

Rijiju in a statement has denied that he caused a delay. In fact he has claimed that the departure of the flight was advanced due to technical reasons.

Rijiju has also expressed regret on the fact that 3 passengers were offloaded because of him. He said that he was regretful if the reports of offloading were true.

According to reports, Maharashtra CM Fadnavis allegedly delayed an AI flight (Mumbai-Newark) for almost an hour because his aide wasn’t carrying a passport with a valid US visa. Fadnavis’ aide, Principal Secretary Pravin Pardeshi was cleared at the check-in but was held back before boarding, as the passport he was carrying did not have the valid visa. This incident is said to have happened on June 29.