Air India ferry flight that departed from here on Wednesday to fly stranded passengers and crew of the airline’s Delhi-San Francisco flight to their destination landed at Magadan port city in far east Russia at 06.14 AM local time.
The ferry flight AI-195, operated by a Boeing 777-200LR, carrying food and essentials along with a team of personnel from Air India, took off for Magadan Airport from the city’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport at 1521 hours (IST) on Tuesday.
The replacement aircraft is scheduled to fly all 216 passengers and 16 crew to San Francisco in the United States on June 8.
“Air India ferry flight AI195 from Mumbai has landed at Magadan Airport in far east Russia at 06.14 am,” an Air India official told PTI.
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Magadan is located on the shores of the Sea of Okhotsk in north-eastern Russia and falls under the administrative centre of Magadan Oblast. The port town is about 10,167 km from Moscow. It takes around 7 hours and 37 minutes to reach Magadan from Moscow by air.
On Tuesday, Air India’s Delhi-San Francisco flight AI 173 carrying 216 passengers and 16 crew on board a Boeing 777-200 LR aircraft was diverted to Magadan Airport, after one of its engines developed a snag mid-air, where it made an emergency landing. All these 232 people have been put up in make-shift accommodations– school and dormitory of a medical college—in Magadan. The replacement aircraft was scheduled to depart at 1300 hours (IST) from on Wednesday but it could take off only at 15.21 owing to regulatory clearances. Air India in its earlier statement had said that all the passengers and crew were provided ”hotel accommodation”.
On Wednesday it said that ”infrastructure constraints” forced it to lodge them in make-shift accommodations despite ”making sincere attempts to lodge them in hotels locally with the help of local government authorities”. It also said that Air India does not have a staff based in the remote town of Magadan or in Russia, and the support that is being provided to the passengers ”is the best possible in this unusual circumstance”.
This support is being provided through the airline’s round-the-clock liaison with the Consulate General of India in Vladivostok, India’s Ministry of External Affairs, local ground handlers, and the ”Russian authorities”, it said.
Air India also said it engaged with the local authorities at Magadan Airport that extended all cooperation and support upon the flight’s arrival there.