It's Praful Patel again!

My pick of the day is this Times of India story on how Praful Patel's daughter, Poorna Patel is supposed to have had a scheduled Air India plane cancelled and converted into a chartered IPL plane. Poorna is hospitality manager with IPL. Air India, of course, is claiming that it was purely a commercial decision.


BV Rao | April 23, 2010

Here's the story from The Times of India

Praful Patels daughter pulled out scheduled AI flight for IPL

Manju V | TNN
Mumbai: A Delhi to Coimbatore Air India flight,IC 7603,scheduled to leave at 5.20am on April 20,was aborted less than 12 hours before its departure to allow the aircraft to be deployed as a chartered flight for ferrying civil aviation minister Praful Patels daughter,Poorna Patel,and some IPL players from Chandigarh to Chennai.
Technically,the airline combined this flight with another one by putting passengers onto a flight which departed later.Diverting an aircraft from a scheduled passenger flight for charter operations is forbidden under the law if the airline does not have another aircraft to operate the said passenger flight at the scheduled time.
Yet the Bombardier CRJ 700 aircraft was pulled out of its scheduled flight allegedly on the demand of Poorna,the IPLs hospitality manager.The aircraft (registration number VT-RJB ),belonging to Alliance Air,was scheduled to fly the three-hour Delhi-Coimbatore route and return to the capital after leaving Coimbatore at 8.55am the same day.
But Poorna Patel called the airline on Monday evening and asked for an aircraft to do a chartered flight to Chennai from Chandigarh.So the aircraft was pulled out of the fleet.IPL paid for the chartered flight but the violation here was getting an aircraft scheduled for a passenger flight pulled out at the last moment for a chartered flight, said an official.
A civil aviation ministry spokesperson said the ministry had nothing to do with the charter.Praful Patel was not available for comment.An AI spokesperson confirmed the aircraft was given for a chartered flight but did not divulge details about the client.
The decision to operate this chartered flight was taken the previous evening and we informed our call centre at 7.20pm.The call centre called passengers on flight 7603 and told them they would be put on the Delhi-Mumbai-Coimbatore flight,IC 657, the spokesperson said.
Coimbatore-bound passengers reached their destination at 11.45am,three hours behind schedule.Passengers booked on Coimbatore-Delhi flight 7604 were put on a Coimbatore-Mumbai-Delhi flight.In all,75 passengers were re-assigned.
The Bombardier did an empty ferry flight to Chandigarh on Tuesday morning.The new flight plan had the chartered flight,LLR-0001,leaving Chandigarh for Chennai at 10.20am. The departure was postponed to 11.45am as the passengers got delayed.It was airborne at 12.10pm with Poorna Patel and some IPL players, a person in the know said.




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