Flight takes off without Karnataka guv, airline expresses regret

The Air India subsidiary AIX Connect flight took off from Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport without allowing Karnataka governor Thawarchand Gehlot on board

Representative image of Air India flight (Photo: Getty Images)
Representative image of Air India flight (Photo: Getty Images)


Karnataka Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot was on Thursday denied boarding on an Air India subsidiary AIX Connect flight over alleged "delay" in reporting. The Governor's office lodged a complaint over "breach of protocol" and the airline on Friday expressed regret over the incident.

The flight took off from Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport here without allowing the Governor on board. The Governor's Protocol Officer M Venugopal lodged a complaint at the Airport police station seeking action against AIX Connect and the airline officials responsible for it.

According to the complaint, Gehlot was supposed to fly to Hyderabad on Thursday afternoon from Terminal-2 by boarding flight number I5 972 at 2.05 pm “Accordingly, the Governor left Raj Bhavan at 1.10 pm and reached the VIP Lounge of the Terminal-1 at 1.35 pm. By that time, the luggage belonging to the Governor was loaded onto the plane,” it said.

The protocol officer added that he, along with Airport Guest Relations Assistant Sanskriti, made arrangements for the Governor to board. He said he also informed the ADC to the Governor to reach Terminal-2.

The Governor reached the ladder of the plane at 2.06 pm.

“However, AirAsia (AIX Connect) employee Arif denied entry to the Governor saying that there was a delay in arrival, though the door of the plane was still open,” the complaint alleged.

“Besides this, the Governor’s luggage was unloaded in which 10 minutes were lost. The Governor was still standing near the ladder and the door of the plane was still open. Yet, the Governor was ignored and insulted by not allowing him inside the flight,” Venugopal said.

Gehlot later returned to the VIP Lounge, he stated.

The Governor had to take another flight after 90 minutes to reach Hyderabad, sources said.

“This incident has deeply hurt the Governor, who is the first citizen of Karnataka. By obstructing him from discharging his official duty, his protocol has been breached. We request you to initiate legal action against (AIX Connect Station Manager) Zico Soares, Arif and AirAsia (AIX Connect),” the complaint said.

The airline expressed regret over the incident and said they are in touch with the Governor's office to address the concerns.

“We sincerely regret the incident. An investigation is being conducted and appropriate action will be taken. The senior leadership team of the airline is in contact with the Governor's Office to address the concerns, an AIX Connect spokesperson said in a statement.

The statement said that the company’s commitment to the highest standards of professionalism and adherence to protocol remains unwavering, adding that AIX Connect deeply values its relationship with the Governor's Office.

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