On Wednesday, passengers attempting to board SpiceJet aircraft SG-354 for Varanasi had a traumatic experience as they were left stuck for more than eight hours at Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport. Before the plane reached Ahmedabad airport, the trip was delayed because of what is believed to have been a bird hit.
The flight, which was supposed to leave SVPI at 10.30 am, instead took off around 6.40 pm, according to reports, since the aircraft had to be grounded for a comprehensive inspection. Right at the domestic terminal Gate No. 2 departure gate, agitated passengers made a scene.
“The passengers were first told the flight would leave at 3.30 pm but the wait then turned indefinite,” said a source at SVPI privy to the developments.
The plane in issue had come from Goa and was later due to going to Varanasi.
“As it suffered a suspected bird hit during the previous rotation, the aircraft was grounded till 3.30 pm,” a source said.
“Due to the suspected bird hit suffered by the aircraft in its previous rotation as a result of which a thorough check of the aircraft was required. As the aircraft was cleared for departure, there was a NOTAM (notice to airmen) at Ahmedabad airport which further delayed the departure,” a SpiceJet spokesperson said.
“An alternative aircraft was arranged, and the flight departed from Ahmedabad. The passengers were offered refreshments and service recovery vouchers,” the spokesperson added.
The directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has instructed the airline to limit its flight frequency to 50% as a result of several technical problems the company’s fleet has encountered.