Stranded passengers leave Bahrain
Manama, April 2, 2012
All passengers stranded in Bahrain after an airline was forced to cancel flights to and from the South Indian city of Thiruvananthapuram have now left the country, said officials.
Meanwhile, Bahrain Air is accepting claims from customers seeking refunds.
The service was cancelled after a contract between the airline and the Indian Civil Aviation Ministry expired on March 24.
A delegation of officials from Bahrain's Civil Aviation Affairs and Bahrain Air is now set to visit India today to resolve the issue.
However, the airline's flights to other airports in India are continuing as normal.
Our sister publication the Gulf Daily News (GDN) reported on Friday that around 140 passengers were stranded in Bahrain after the airline was forced to ground flights on its newly-launched service to Thiruvananthapuram.
The passengers, who arrived in Bahrain from Saudi Arabia, were due to take a connecting flight at 9.30pm on Wednesday night. They were later put up in hotels.
Around 100 passengers were flown to Thiruvananthapuram via Mumbai on Friday on other carriers. The remaining customers left the next day.
"All the affected passengers have already reached home," said airline spokesman Prem Shankar.
All passengers who do not live in Bahrain stayed at the Best Western Hotel and Carlton Hotel in Juffair and were provided with free telephone cards to inform friends and relatives.
The carrier only launched flights to Thiruvananthapuram on March 15. Bahrain Air is now asking affected passengers to contact the call centre on 17333777 for refunds.
Passenger Vibin Hari spoke of his ordeal and complained passengers were stranded for another 10 hours in Mumbai after leaving Bahrain, as they waited for a connecting flight to Kerala.
"Our ordeal began on March 29 as we had purchased four tickets on a Bahrain Air (BN 551) flight travelling from Bahrain to Thiruvananthapuram," he said in a letter to the GDN.
"This flight was cancelled after two hours of delay, with no explanation or alternative accommodation arrangements offered to us.
"We were simply asked to leave the airport and told they would contact us to inform us about the rescheduled flight time.
"Confused as we were, we called the Bahrain Air customer support who had no additional information to offer, had no idea when the next flight would be and were nice enough to cut my call when asked about providing us with hotel accommodation.
"The next day, after repeated visits to the airport, Bahrain Air arranged a night flight which would take us to Mumbai and a domestic carrier would be arranged to take us from Mumbai to Thiruvananthapuram.
"Our flight landed in Mumbai at 4am on Friday India time and we were stranded for 10 hours. The airline had no idea when the connecting flight would be, they said our booking numbers did not show in their system." – TradeArabia News Service