Controversy Brews as IndiGo and MIAL Convert Airport Tarmac into Diner, Drawing BCAS’s Criticism

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In a highly unusual incident that has garnered widespread attention and criticism, passengers aboard a diverted IndiGo flight were stranded on the airport tarmac, leading to scenes of discomfort and chaos. The incident unfolded when a flight from Goa to Delhi experienced a significant delay and was subsequently redirected to Mumbai, where it landed in a remote bay instead of a Contact Stand. This landing location deprived passengers of basic amenities such as restrooms and refreshments, forcing them to resort to eating and resting on the tarmac.

The Tarmac Incident

The IndiGo flight bound for Delhi was diverted to Mumbai due to operational issues, resulting in a delay of around 12 to 18 hours. Without immediate assistance or alternative arrangements, passengers were observed sitting on the airport tarmac, sharing and consuming food near the IndiGo plane. This incident occurred just one day after a video of a passenger assaulting an IndiGo pilot went viral on social media, further exacerbating the controversy and scrutiny surrounding the airline’s operations.

Official Response and Backlash

The incident not only caused chaos and disruptions at the airport but also sparked a nationwide conversation about passenger rights and airline responsibilities. Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) addressed the issue, with a focus on unruly passenger behavior and lengthy flight delays. As a result of the incident, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) issued show cause notices to both IndiGo and the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL), the operator of Mumbai airport. Both parties faced criticism for their lack of foresight in anticipating the situation and their failure to make necessary arrangements for the affected passengers.

Next Steps and Remedial Actions

IndiGo has since issued an apology and initiated an investigation into the incident. The airline, along with MIAL, has been requested to respond to the show cause notices issued by the BCAS and explain the measures they intend to implement to prevent similar incidents in the future. This occurrence has underscored the importance of airlines and airport authorities being better prepared for unforeseen circumstances, while always prioritizing the comfort and safety of passengers.