IndiGo pilot physically attacked by passenger over weather-related delay

The incident occurred on a flight from Delhi to Goa, which had been delayed by several hours due to fog on Sunday, 14 January

IndiGo flight  (Photo: National Herald Archives)
IndiGo flight (Photo: National Herald Archives)

Aditya Anand

Flying during the winter months in India is a challenging experience, with frequent flight delays and cancellations due to dense fog. While airlines grapple with logistical issues, passengers often find their patience tested when faced with extended delays. However, a recent incident on an IndiGo flight from Delhi to Goa took a disturbing turn as a passenger physically assaulted the pilot after a prolonged delay attributed to foggy conditions.

The incident occurred on Flight 6E 2175, originally scheduled for departure at 7.40 a.m. However, due to foggy weather conditions in Delhi, the flight experienced a delay of over 10 hours. A video circulating on social media captured the moment when a male passenger ran up the aisle and physically assaulted the pilot while he was making an announcement. Notably, the assaulted pilot was part of a replacement crew brought in due to flight duty time limitations affecting the original crew.

Flights to Goa, often packed with holidaymakers seeking warmth and sunshine, are sensitive to delays. While verbal disputes between passengers and airline staff are not uncommon, physical assaults are rare. The unruly passenger was apprehended and handed over to the authorities for further action.

Last week, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Saket Gokhale also addressed a letter to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), expressing concern over the recurrent issue of delayed pilot arrivals causing disruptions in flight operations at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport. Gokhale asserted that this incident is not an isolated occurrence, indicating a systemic concern that requires attention.

The letter, directed to DGCA Director General Vikram Dev Dutt, highlighted the TMC MP's personal experience during his journey from Delhi to Ahmedabad on Thursday via IndiGo flight 6E 2001, originally scheduled for departure at 5.55 a.m. Gokhale's communication seeks to bring the attention of aviation authorities to the impact of delayed pilot arrivals, emphasizing the need for measures to prevent such disruptions in the future.

Northern India is currently grappling with dense fog, causing disruptions at major airports. Delhi, being the largest airport in India, faces significant challenges during such weather conditions. Over 160 flights have been delayed in Delhi recently, prompting the airport to issue social media alerts advising passengers to check with their airlines before arriving.

The impact of fog-related delays is further highlighted by an incident involving an Air India flight from Frankfurt to Delhi, which took over two hours to find parking space after landing. The situation led to congestion as multiple aircraft were grounded due to delays.

In addition to the Delhi-Goa incident, poor visibility has affected other flights across the country. A recent IndiGo flight from Mumbai to Guwahati had to divert to Dhaka, Bangladesh, as poor visibility prevented landing in Guwahati. The aircraft initially diverted to Kolkata but faced adverse weather conditions, forcing pilots to choose Dhaka as the alternative landing site.

Despite the challenge of domestic passengers finding themselves in a foreign country without passports, a new crew was arranged, and the flight eventually landed in Guwahati after several hours.

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