Ranchi, March 11: Held up since yesterday, Flight IC-810 may have finally taken off today with 30 Delhi-bound passengers, but tomorrow promises to be a whole new day of new but familiar inconveniences with airport staff at the Birsa Munda Airp- ort threatening to join an all-India strike.
About 65-odd non-executive employees of the Airports Authority of India have decided to sit on a dharna in front of the airport. “We will come to the airport tomorrow but would avoid working,” said M. Nadi, the secretary of AAI Employees’ Union, Ranchi.
However, airport authorities claimed flight operations would not be affected despite the strike.
“We have prepared a contingency plan, said A.V. Krishna, the airport director.
The Delhi-Ranchi-Patna IC-809 developed a technical snag yesterday because of which it was grounded till evening. A team of engineers flew in from Calcutta and fixed the problem, but the pilot refused to fly to New Delhi as his “working hours had ended”.
Instead, he took the flight to Patna, where it remained parked for the night. Today, the same flight was pressed into service to carry passengers stranded in Ranchi to Delhi at 9am.
Later, it was rescheduled to 11am, but finally the flight arrived a little before 1pm and then left for New Delhi.
Several passengers, including the likes of Arjun Munda, state Congress chief Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu, Congress legislative party leader Manoj Yadav, RIMS director N.N. Agarwal, were furious with the way the airline kept them waiting yesterday.
“We were told the flight would take off from here today at 9am. When I reached the airport, I was told it had been been rescheduled to. Finally, the plane came at 1pm,” said Neeru Johri, a passenger.
She also alleged airline officials misbehaved with her when she asked for the complaint register.
“I am planning an application under the Right to Information Act to find out why airline officials in Ranchi failed to keep us informed about the exact departure time of the flight.”