Air India ditches Singapore-bound passengers

At least 260 passengers of an Air India flight from Mumbai to Singapore were stranded on Wednesday after the airline said the plane could not take off as there was not enough cockpit crew.

"The Mumbai-Singapore flight AI342 with 260 passengers on board was cancelled due to non-availability of a commander. The flight will now leave for Singapore at midnight today," the spokesperson said.

The pilot who was supposed to fly the plane had been suspended in the wake of various agitations in the 'national carrier'; and no alternative arrangement had been made.

Air India said it has provided hotel and other facilities to the stranded passengers. Some of them have been booked on other flights, the airline said.

Union civil aviation minister Ajit Singh on Wednesday ordered the immediate removal of Air India's general manager operations, Capt H Y Samant, as he failed to put a crew in place for the Mumbai–Singapore flight.

''Captain R S Dhillon, who was supposed to fly the aircraft, was suspended just the previous day for fudging records of simulator training, and hence became ineligible to fly. Samant knew this and yet made no alternative arrangement,'' an aviation ministry statement said.