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Kerala Guv Sathasivam misses Air India flight after pilot refuses to wait for him

Sathasivam missed his Air India flight as he arrived minutes before take-off. His staff alleges that the pilot refused to wait.

The flight AI 048 was to take off at 9.20 pm but was delayed to 11.40 pm, say Air India officials.

When the flight arrived at 10.57 pm, the Governor’s team was informed, say airline sources.

All passengers were on board by 11.24 pm. “We waited till 11.30 for any update on the Governor. With no update, at 11.32 pm, we started push back process. The Governor arrived at around 11.32 pm,” an official added.

The Governor’s House says he reached the tarmac at 11.28 pm — he enjoys the privilege of boarding directly from there — but the stepladder was removed and the plane prepped for take-off.

Sources say an Air India officer was even holding the Governor’s boarding card, but even that did not help.

Air India officials say the Governor’s car reached the tarmac only after the doors had closed, and “a commander cannot open the door to allow a passenger in until and unless it’s an emergency.”

When contacted, the airport sources said the Governor had reached the tarmac when the flight was at the “push back stage and the doors were closed”.

The Governor waited for some time and then left. Sources say his office is examining what action to take.

Sathasivam’s aides say he was returning to Thiruvanathapuram after attending an official programme in Kozhikode. After staying in Kochi overnight, he reportedly reached the state capital by road on Wednesday morning.

Sources say that a Governor has to be the last person to board a flight, so there may have been some “miscommunication”.

Sathasivam was Chief Justice of India for a year till April 2014. Four months later, he became the Governor of Kerala. Two years ago, the then Governor Nikhil Kumar had also faced a similar situation.
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