In yet another embarrassment for budget airline SpiceJet, several passengers from its Hyderabad-Delhi flight on Saturday night were seen walking on the airport's tarmac as the airline could not provide a bus for around 45 minutes to take them to the terminal. Aviation regulator sources say that this is being seen as a security incident and an investigation has been launched.
"It's unclear at this stage for how long the passengers were walking on the tarmac," Directorate General of Civil Aviation sources said.
The airline had claimed there was "a brief delay" in the arrival of coaches, and once the buses came, all the passengers, including those who had started walking, travelled on them from the tarmac to the terminal building.
How often do you see this happening at T3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi? @flyspicejet kept up cooked up for 45 minutes after announcing “early arrival” of 6 mins at 11:24pm on the SG 8108 Hyd-Delhi. They parked the flight really far away with no buses. pic.twitter.com/sgkR9gXs3Y— Lasya Nadimpally (@nlasya) August 6, 2022
"Despite repeated requests from our staff, a few passengers started walking towards the terminal. They had barely walked a few metres when the coaches arrived. All passengers, including those who had started walking, travelled on the coaches to the terminal building," the airline said.
Passengers are not allowed to walk on the Delhi airport's tarmac area as it is a security risk. There is a demarcated path on the tarmac just for vehicles.
SpiceJet's Hyderabad-Delhi flight -- which had 186 passengers on board -- landed at its destination at around 11.24 PM on Saturday.
One bus came immediately and took a section of the passengers to terminal 3, news agency PTI reported quoting sources.
The rest of the passengers waited for about 45 minutes, and as they didn't see any bus coming for them, started walking towards the terminal which was about 1.5 km away, it said.
SpiceJet has been in trouble recently with the aviation regulator for several safety-related incidents.
In an unprecedented crackdown on July 27, the DGCA had ordered it to operate only 50 per cent of its flights for eight weeks.
The airline is already on "enhanced surveillance" by the DGCA following the order.
The regulator had said SpiceJet had "failed to establish a safe, efficient and reliable air transport service". The airline was taking measures to arrest the trend, the order had noted, but it needs to sustain its efforts for a safe and reliable air transport service.
The government had warned SpiceJet after eight incidents of flight safety were reported in a matter of 18 days.