AirAsia stops Karnataka Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot from boarding flight

Karnataka Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot

AirAsia stops Karnataka Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot from boarding flight

AirAsia India flight I5972 that took off without the governor was to reach Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at 2.05 pm. 

BENGALURU: In what could be termed an unprecedented protocol violation, an AirAsia India flight took off from Terminal 2 of the Kempegowda International Airport to Hyderabad on Thursday afternoon after refusing to allow Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot on board, according to sources.

A source familiar with the development said the airline staff felt the governor was too late to be permitted inside the aircraft, while multiple sources denied any delay on his part. Gehlot left for Hyderabad by another AirAsia India flight after 90 minutes.

AirAsia India flight I5972 which took off without the governor was to reach Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at 2.05 pm.

A source told TNIE, “VVIPs like the President, Prime Minister, Union Home Minister, chief ministers and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court have special access to a ‘ceremonial lounge’, which is away from public view. The protocol to be followed in the case of the governor is that he will not be subjected to any frisking.

A vehicle takes the governor directly from the ‘ceremonial lounge’ to the tarmac where the aircraft is ready for take-off and he does not have to go through the regular boarding gate which shuts half an hour before departure. Moreover, after the boarding of all passengers is completed, the governor’s protocol team is alerted. Then the governor arrives and is the last passenger to board the flight.” There is no question of the governor being late as he is expected to board last, he said.

An airport source said when the governor reached the flight, the aircraft door was not shut. Another source confirmed that the door was not closed. “The governor should have been allowed on board and this is a protocol violation,” he said.   

‘There are rules to be followed before take-off’

However, aviation safety consultant and former pilot Capt Mohan Ranganathan told TNIE that all rules should be followed before take-off. “The captain signs an acceptance document called the “Load and Trim” sheet which specifies the number of passengers on board the flight and other details. After the sheet is signed, the pilot is within his rights to not allow anyone on board,” he said.

Citing two instances in the past when he served as a pilot, Capt Ranganathan said he refused to allow former Tamil Nadu minister Arunachalam and his family to board an Indian Airlines flight in 1988 as they were 10 minutes late. “In January 8, 1989, I sent back Civil Aviation Minister Shivraj V Patil and his cabinet colleague Rajesh Pilot as they came without passing through the X-ray scanner. After they went through the security screening only, I allowed them to board,” he said.

The spokesperson of Bangalore International Airport Limited did not comment. AirAsia India too did not comment. Until Thursday evening, AirAsia India staff were quizzed by the governor’s protocol team. Action will be initiated only after knowing the reasons for the aircraft taking off without the governor, a source said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *