Air India Delhi-Ahmedabad flight fails to take off

The perennial crew shortage on cash-strapped national carrier Air India hit passengers hard on Monday with its Delhi-Ahmedabad flight failing to depart even after delay of one-and-half hours, putting over 150 passengers already on board to considerable inconvenience.

"The flight was scheduled to take off at 8 pm but till 7:30 pm there were no signs of boarding. When asked, we were told the flight would take off around 8:30 pm due to crew shortage. The airline said they were waiting for the crew of another flight to land so that they could be used," an aggrieved passenger said.

An Air India spokesperson confirmed to PTI that the flight (AI-030 Delhi-Ahmedabad) was delayed due to crew shortage.

"There was one crew shortage and for this reason the flight has been rescheduled," the spokesperson said. The flight had not departed till 9:45 pm.

Earlier on Monday, minister of state for civil aviation Mahesh Sharma had informed the Lok Sabha that as many as 420 Air India flights were delayed between March 2014 to February 2015 and that regular on-time performance review meeting were being held at the highest level, besides cutting salary of the staff responsible for the delays.

"As a result of rigorous measures to improve the on-time performance, there is an improvement in the OTP from 62.3 per cent in December 2014 to 74.7 per cent in February 2015," Sharma said.

He also said Air India continually monitors the carriage / load factors / financial performance of the services on its network and makes efforts to improve their performance.