ground rules

Why domestic flyers spent unduly long time at airports in October

Flight delays increased by 150%, says the aviation regulator, and most of those affected were Air India passengers.

Severe winter and fog are still to enter the picture, but flight delays are already common around the country. There was a 150% rise in October in the number of domestic flights delayed from September. These interruptions, says the civil aviation regulator, affected more than 60,000 passengers in October as against the usual monthly count of 25,000 passengers.

According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, a total of 62,011 passengers booked on Indian carriers were hit by flight delays in October. In comparison, 24,250 passengers were affected the previous month, 21,701 in July, and 33,904 in August.

“Technical snags, especially in aircraft engine, led to most delays,” an official with Air India told on condition of anonymity. “Since October has several festivals, flights are packed and there are more trips.” The official explained that in the event of a flight cancellation on a regular business day passengers are accommodated in the next flight. “But it is impossible to do that during the festival period as most flights are filled.”

Engine trouble also caused most of the 10,127 cancellations in October, said the DGCA official.

Of the 62,011 flyers who got delayed in October, 50,773 were travelling by Air India. The national career, in fact, has been the major contributor to the increase in flight delays every month. In September too, out of the total 24,250 passengers delayed, 18,346 were flying by Air India. On average, their trips were held up by two hours.

The numbers speak volumes about Air India’s poor performance. Three out of every 100 flyers of the national carrier were stranded at airports during the festival season, whereas against this, only 0.2% of the passengers of airlines like Indigo, SpiceJet and Jet Airways were hit.

As a result of this inefficiency, Air India had to spend Rs 1.8 crore on providing refreshments and refunds to its delayed passengers apart from rescheduling their flights in October, said the Air India official.

Staff shortage

Running into severe losses, the national carrier has let go of hundreds of cabin crew and ground staff in the last few years. In 2014 alone, it has sacked over 200 employees.

The resultant shortage of staff is a major reason for the flight delays. “According to DGCA guidelines, a flight attendant cannot be rostered for more than 1,000 hours of flight duty in a year,” the Air India official said. “Moreover, because the airline is short-staffed and its existing crew refuses to clock overtime, it is often left helpless.”

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Watch Ruchir's journey: A story that captures the impact of accessible technology

Accessible technology has the potential to change lives.

“Technology can be a great leveller”, affirms Ruchir Falodia, Social Media Manager, TATA CLiQ. Out of the many qualities that define Ruchir as a person, one that stands out is that he is an autodidact – a self-taught coder and lover of technology.

Ruchir’s story is one that humanises technology - it has always played the role of a supportive friend who would look beyond his visual impairment. A top ranker through school and college, Ruchir would scan course books and convert them to a format which could be read out to him (in the absence of e-books for school). He also developed a lot of his work ethos on the philosophy of Open Source software, having contributed to various open source projects. The access provided by Open Source, where users could take a source code, modify it and distribute their own versions of the program, attracted him because of the even footing it gave everyone.

That is why I like being in programming. Nobody cares if you are in a wheelchair. Whatever be your physical disability, you are equal with every other developer. If your code works, good. If it doesn’t, you’ll be told so.

— Ruchir.

Motivated by the objectivity that technology provided, Ruchir made it his career. Despite having earned degree in computer engineering and an MBA, friends and family feared his visual impairment would prove difficult to overcome in a work setting. But Ruchir, who doesn’t like quotas or the ‘special’ tag he is often labelled with, used technology to prove that differently abled persons can work on an equal footing.

As he delved deeper into the tech space, Ruchir realised that he sought to explore the human side of technology. A fan of Agatha Christie and other crime novels, he wanted to express himself through storytelling and steered his career towards branding and marketing – which he sees as another way to tell stories.

Ruchir, then, migrated to Mumbai for the next phase in his career. It was in the Maximum City that his belief in technology being the great leveller was reinforced. “The city’s infrastructure is a challenging one, Uber helped me navigate the city” says Ruchir. By using the VoiceOver features, Ruchir could call an Uber wherever he was and move around easily. He reached out to Uber to see if together they could spread the message of accessible technology. This partnership resulted in a video that captures the essence of Ruchir’s story: The World in Voices.


It was important for Ruchir to get rid of the sympathetic lens through which others saw him. His story serves as a message of reassurance to other differently abled persons and abolishes some of the fears, doubts and prejudices present in families, friends, employers or colleagues.

To know more about Ruchir’s journey, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Uber and not by the Scroll editorial team.