Air India Offloaded 4 Passengers At Leh Airport To Make Way For Ministers Kiren Rijiju, Nirmal Singh

02/07/2015 9:44 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
British tourists queue up at the check-in counter at the Enfidha International airport on June 28, 2015, as they leave Tunisia two days after a shooting attack on the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Port el Kantaoui, on the outskirts of Sousse south of the capital Tunis. The attack saw a Tunisian student disguised as a tourist pull out a Kalashnikov assault rifle hidden inside a beach umbrella and open fire on holidaymakers at a popular beach resort killing 38 people, most of them British tourists, in the worst attack in the country's recent history. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

Some things don't change. Such as politicians getting favours when they should not.

Four people were allegedly offloaded from an Air India flight at Leh airport to accommodate Kiren Rijiju, the union minister of state for home affairs, and Nirmal Singh, deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. This after the flight was delayed as the airline opted to keep waiting for the ministers to arrive, reports the Times of India.

This is the second such case. On Monday, an Air India flight to New York was delayed by nearly an hour in Mumbai after Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis's secretary forgot to bring his new passport which had the US visa stamp on it. Fadnavis also refused to leave without his secretary. So the flight was delayed until the officer sent for his passport and it was delivered at the airport.

But the latest episode is worse. Four passengers, including an Army officer, and an Air Force officer travelling with his family were offloaded and the ministers took their place in the economy section of the Leh-Delhi flight. Later, the army officer was allowed to board the plane after passengers jeered and shouted slogans. Some shot the incident on their phones.

Because of the delay, the aircraft did not take off until after the official runway closure time of 11:15 am because of ongoing repairs. Other passengers had been told that the flight would take off before 10:30 am.

Rijiju has said that he was not aware that three people were offloaded, and arrived at the airport at the time he was told the flight would depart. He said that Air India had advanced the time of the flight but later decided to leave as per its usual scheduled time. "How would I've got the ticket if I had not reported on time," he told TOI.

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