Venkaiah Naidu Misses Appointment As Pilot Plays Truant, Slams Air India

28/06/2016 8:32 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
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An aircraft operated by Air India Ltd. that is carrying Narendra Modi, India's prime minister, not pictured, taxis at an airport in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. The U.S. is India's 'indispensable partner' as the nations seek to elevate their ties in commerce and defense, Modi told a joint meeting of Congress in Washington. Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Livid over having to miss an "important" appointment after the pilot of an Air India flight to Hyderabad did not turn up, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday took to twitter to castigate the state-run carrier, which ordered an inquiry into the episode.

"Air India should explain how such things are happening. Transparency and accountability are the need of the hour," Naidu, the Urban Development Minister, tweeted.

Sources said Naidu was going to Hyderabad to attend a meeting on the 'Swachh Bharat' campaign.

The flight was scheduled to depart at 1345 hours but due to the non-availability of the pilot it could take off only at 1430 hours.

"I had to travel to Hyderabad by Air India AI544 which is to depart at 1315 Hrs... was told on time.. reached airport by 1230 Hrs," the minister said in another tweet.

"(I)was informed at 1315 hrs that flight was delayed as d pilot had not yet come. Waited up to 1345 Hrs, boarding didn't start. returned 2 home," Naidu said in a series of tweets.

"Hope Air India understands that we are in the age of competition. Missed an important appointment," he said.

Soon after Naidu's tweets, the public carrier expressed regret for the inconvenience caused, while Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said he had asked Air India to conduct an inquiry and take action.

"Sir, we deeply regret the inconvenience caused due to flt delay. The pilot was stuck in traffic jam. Enquiry has been ordered," Air India tweeted.

Raju said,"Service disruptions are unacceptable and have to be eliminated. Have asked AI to enquire and take action on priority."

"Cognizance taken, CMD @airindia to enquire into the incident. Thanks for the feedback," said Raju's deputy Mahesh Sharma.

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