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Last-minute flight cancellations hit holiday crowd

On Monday, GoAir cancelled 18 flights, attributed it to factors such as inclement weather, low visibility and anti-CAA protests in the country. IndiGo also has similar problems. Air India’s 12 A320 are grounded due to technical issues.

, TNN|
Last Updated: Dec 24, 2019, 12.12 PM IST
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Airplane Rep
(Representative image)
(This story originally appeared in on Dec 24, 2019)
MUMBAI: Domestic flight cancellations have been going up since July when airlines began bingeing on Jet Airways slots, only to find it difficult to handle the sudden spurt in growth. The problem is set to worsen this winter as fog-related disruptions, aircraft unavailability due to engine problems and crew scheduling issues kick in.

In the past week, hundreds of passengers who had booked flight tickets in advance for their year-end Christmas holidays have been forced to either scrap their holidays or buy exorbitant last-minute tickets thanks to flight cancellations.

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On Monday, GoAir cancelled 18 flights. GoAir attributed it to a combination of factors such as inclement weather, low visibility and anti-CAA protests in the country. It did not speak about A320Neo Pratt and Whitney engine snags, which had led to aircraft unavailability. IndiGo also has similar problems. Air India’s spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar said that 12 A320 are grounded due to technical issues.

The cancellations have hit the holiday crowd hard. Khurshed Pastakia had booked four tickets in April on GoAir’s Mumbai-Cochin December 22 flight G8-336, only to cancel his holiday as the airline cancelled the flight at the last minute. “We spent over six hours at the airport, they couldn’t put us on another flight. Passengers were screaming and shouting-—many had booked family holidays with hotel accommodation paid for,’’ said Pastakia.

Another flyer, Shibu Thomas, who flew in to Mumbai from Melbourne to spend Christmas with his family in Kerala, was forced to buy a last minute, one-way IndiGo ticket for Rs 15,000 after Air India cancelled his Mumbai-Thiruvananthapuram flight on Sunday.
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