Flight suspension hits Indian passengers
Manama, October 29, 2012
Bahrain Air has blamed Indian authorities for the temporary suspension of its flights to Thiruvananthapuram in the south Indian state of Kerala, yesterday.
CEO Richard Nuttall told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication, the airline had applied for permission to fly to multiple airports in May, but Indian authorities omitted the approval of the destination in the winter schedule.
Passengers due to board their flight from Bahrain found out about the cancellation of the daily service only when they showed up at Bahrain International Airport (BIA) yesterday.
The airline is now accepting claims from customers seeking refunds after it was forced to cancel flights between Bahrain and Thiruvananthapuram.
"Airlines need to take permission for the summer and winter season in advance and the respective government gives permission," explained Nuttall.
"However, we were surprised as we had sent a letter seeking permission in May. The authorities forgot to add the name of Trivandrum (now called Thiruvananthapuram) as all other destinations were included.
"The Indian authorities take a long time to clear documents and they informed us that since all departments were closed for a holiday in India, they would clear everything by today or tomorrow.
"We don't know why this happened, but we are trying to solve this matter as soon as possible."
Nuttall revealed flights from and to Bahrain had been cancelled as a result, affecting 73 passengers due to fly to India in addition to passengers travelling in the opposite direction.
"Out of these 73 passengers, 40 agreed to go to Kochi, 25 are asking for refunds while eight were unreachable," he said.
Passengers with tickets on the affected route are being asked to contact their travel agents or Bahrain Air by e-mail at email@example.com, or through its call centre on 17333777.
"Bahrain Air expresses its unreserved apologies to the affected passengers," the carrier said in a circular issued to the media and travel agents.
"Our management, staff and partners are working around the clock to minimise, to the greatest extent possible, the disruptions caused to our valued passengers for reasons beyond our control."
It is not the first time the Bahrain Air service to Thiruvananthapuram has been disrupted.
The airline had to suspend flights in April after its permit from the Indian Civil Aviation Affairs Ministry expired on March 24.
It resumed the service within two weeks after a Bahrain Air delegation visited India and signed a new contract with Indian aviation officials.
An airline representative said passengers who had already booked tickets could get a refund, fly to Kochi and have their transport to Thiruvananthapuram provided or fly to Mumbai and take a connecting flight.
One passenger, who asked to remain anonymous, expressed his frustration after learning of the flight suspension only when he showed up at the airport.
"I was going on vacation and no-one from Bahrain Air informed me that the flights have been cancelled for whatever reason," said the 45-year-old. "I was informed only at the airport that I cannot travel because of the problem." -TradeArabia News Service