Air India sends rescue flight for stranded US fliers in Russia
Civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said he was tracking the situation very closely and was in constant touch with the airline.
NEW DELHI: Air India has sent a flight with relief and essentials from Mumbai to Magadan in Russia for passengers stranded following the diversion of a San Francisco-bound plane.
“An Air India team is on board the flight to provide any support that the passengers and staff in Russia may require. The ferry flight is carrying essentials in addition to a sufficient amount of food to cater to all passengers on the onward flight scheduled from GDX to San Francisco (SFO). The aircraft operating the ferry flight will take all passengers and crew onward to San Francisco on 08 June 2023,’’ according to a statement released by Air India.
Earlier on Wednesday, Air India said limited infrastructure at and around the airport in Magadan, which is on Russia’s eastern coast and over 10,000 km from capital Moscow, meant passengers had been moved to ‘makeshift accommodation after making sincere attempts to accommodate passengers in hotels locally.
It takes around 7 hours and 37 minutes to reach Magadan from Moscow by air. “As we do not have Air India staff based in the remote town of Magadan or in Russia, all ground support being provided to passengers is the best possible in this unusual circumstance,” Air India said.
The carrier also said it is working with the Consulate General of India in Vladivostok (around 4,900 km from Magadan), the external affairs ministry, Russian authorities and local officials.
Civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said he was tracking the situation very closely and was in constant touch with the airline. The ministry also said it had been told by some fliers had been housed in a school building near the airport.
Meanwhile, the US has said that it is “closely monitoring” the situation. “We are aware of a US-bound flight that had to make an emergency landing in Russia and are continuing to monitor that situation closely. I’m not able to confirm how many US citizens were aboard the flight at this time,” PTI quoted US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel as saying.