Ministers apologise after PMO seeks reports
Ashok Gajapathi Raju, the Civil Aviation Minister gave out an apology to passengers who were inconvenienced by the delays in Air India flights. The Minister said that steps will be taken so that such incidents do not take place again. After the outburst, even the Home Affairs MoS Kiran Rijiju apologised. These apologies came after the PMO decided to look into the matter personally.
An Air India flight from Mumbai to Newark was delayed by almost an hour on 29 June because Devendra Fadnavis's principal secretary Parveen Pardeshi had forgotton to carry his passport with valid visa. However, the AI spokesperson said that the flight was held-up by 57 minutes because of "operational, technical reasons". Congress' Digvijay Singh asked Modi to take action against the VIP culture.
One Dushyant Kagarwa, a freelance journalist tweeted "@Dev_Fadnavis I was present in the flight AI 191. CM and delegation reached in time. Flight delayed due to immigration problem."
After news broke out that the flight from Mumbai to Newark had been delayed because of Maharashtra CM's principal secretary, Fadnavis denied these allegations as 'false and misleading'. He threatened to file a criminal defamation case for blaming him for the flight hold-up. Air India has been asked to submit report on this incident to ascertain the exact reason behind the delay.
In February 2015, Congress leader from Telangana - Renuka Chowdhury delayed an Air India flight with a Union Minister and Supreme Court judge aboard, because she was supposedly busy 'shopping'.
An AI-flight from Leh was delayed on 24 June and 4 passengers (an army officer, an IAF officer and his family) offloaded to make place for Deputy CM of J&K-Nirmal Kumar and minister Kiran Rijiju. Rijiju said he had no idea that the offloading happened because of him. He later said that no one was offloaded because of him and it was 'fake news'.
The government was seen trying to calm down the angst over the offloading incident of 3 passengers from the Air India Leh flight. The PMO has asked for reports from the aviation ministry regarding the hold-up of a Leh-Delhi flight on 24 June and the Mumbai-Newark flight on 29 June. The aviation minstry apologised for the inconvenience caused, calling the incident 'indefensible'.