The Air India may finally have to pay a penalty of $8.8 million to 323 passengers of its May 9 Delhi-Chicago flight.
The penalty is for the flight that got delayed as a fallout of withdrawal of relaxations given on flight duty time limitation (FDTL) of the crew.
A plea by Air India and the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), representing private carriers Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir, to the Delhi High Court, seeks modification of its 18 April direction to DGCA to not permit variations in FDTLs.
While the flight AI 127 was bound for Chicago on 9 May with a flight time of 16 hours, it could not land there on time due to inclement weather and instead was diverted to nearby Milwaukee.
This even as the flight duration from Milwaukee to Chicago was 19 minutes.
According to Air India sources, the withdrawal of the variation of duty hours by DGCA following a high court order left the airline with no choice but to arrange for fresh crew which was transported by road to Milwaukee to take charge of the flight.
The flight left for Chicago after a delay of over six hours.
All this while, the passengers remained onboard the aircraft.
What caused more problem for Air India was stringent US guidelines, inviting the airline the charge for ‘tarmac delay’ as well.
According to US guidelines, if passengers are on-board for more than four hours for international flights, the carrier is guilty of ‘tarmac delay’.>