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Flat tyre delays flight

Calcutta, May 3: A flight to Hong Kong from Calcutta was delayed by more than 24 hours because a flat tyre was detected minutes before take-off and the replacement had to be flown in from Hong Kong.

The passengers of KA169 Dragonair, which was scheduled to take off at 1.15am today, had boarded the flight and had to wait over three hours in the plane before being told that the tyre had to be procured from the airline’s maintenance base.

They are expected to fly by the 4.15am flight on Sunday, which is slated to reach at 10.30am Hong Kong time. The flight was scheduled to reach at 7:50am Hong Kong time on Saturday, which is 5.30am in India.

“Around 1.30am today, it was announced on the public address system that the ground staff had located some problem with the landing gear,” said Soma Roychowdhury, who works for a newspaper in Hong Kong.

“Around 2pm, we were told the engineer had confirmed that it was a flat tyre. After another 45 minutes, they said the tyre had been procured from another airline operator but for the next 90 minutes or so they could not fix it,” she added.

Around 4.20am, the pilot informed the passengers that the flight could not take off unless the replacement came.

The official statement issued by the airline said: “Our engineering team has been working to resolve the problem…. We are doing everything possible to ensure that passengers reach their final destination at the earliest.”

But some like 59-year-old Ron Comstock had no idea when he would get a connecting flight to San Francisco from Hong Kong.

“I had a connecting flight a couple of hours after I was supposed to reach Hong Kong today. But the itinerary they have given me is an old one and I don’t know when my flight to San Francisco is,” said the interior designer based in San Francisco.

“I hope they give me some information at Calcutta airport. But the airline is not giving any information and we are having to catch hold of people to get some clue,” said Comstock.

The replacement tyre is supposed to be brought by the 12.20am flight on Sunday, sources said.