DGCA to probe GoAir for carrying passengers on a cargo-only flight


Indian civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is investigating budget carrier GoAir Limited for operating a cargo flight as a passenger flight between Chennai and Port Blair on Tuesday, which resulted in the flight not being allowed to land at the island airport.

In a serious violation of norms, GoAir’s Chennai to Port Blair flight on December 15 and 16 flew without the requisite permissions in place to operate the flights. The flight was scheduled as a cargo flight but in what comes as a serious violation of rules, the airline booked passengers and operated both of them as commercial flights leading to its return.

The flight had reached Port Blair when it was denied permission to land, shared Airports Authority of India (AAI) sources.

A GoAir spokesperson confirmed the air turn-back but did not reveal details. “GoAir flight G8 1305 from Chennai to Port Blair did an air turn back/diversion due to operational reasons and landed in Chennai with 160 passengers on board. GoAir has taken utmost care and rendered all the requisite assistance to the passengers. The airline sincerely regrets the inconvenience caused to the passengers.”

Arun Kumar, Director-General of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said the regulatory agency is investigating the matter.

However, sources confirm that the airline is permitted to operate only cargo flights on Tuesday and Wednesday between Chennai and Port Blair airports until March 24, 2021.

“The flight schedule implies that the airline, in this case, had to operate as cargo flights for December 15 and 16. However, on both these dates, the flight was sold as a passenger flight on both the days and hence it was denied the permission to land in Port Blair,” said the source.

Ahmedabad-based Viral Patel, who along with his wife was one of 16 couples from the city to be flying to Port Blair on the airline flight  shared their experience and dismay.

“We were told by the airline that the flight was unable to land at Port Blair airport as it didn’t have proper facilities for covid-19 testings, which was not the case,” said Viral Patel.

“We booked to fly from Ahmedabad to Port Blair on GoAir with the first leg of the flight slated for Monday (14 December) between Ahmedabad and Chennai while the second leg of the flight between Chennai and Port Blair was slated for Tuesday,” Viral said adding that initially he was informed that his connecting Port Blair flight was cancelled upon landing at Chennai on Monday.

“Later the airline rescheduled the flight to Port Blair on Tuesday afternoon,” Patel said.”Though the airline promised us a refund, the whole exercise has resulted in a massive waste of time,” Patel added.

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