When Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam reached the Cochin International Airport just 10 minutes before his flight was scheduled to depart, he saw that the plane was being pushed back, and the stepladder had been removed.
When his officials tried to communicate about his presence on the tarmac, the Air India pilot allegedly refused to wait for him as the boarding time was already over.
The Delhi-Kochi-Thiruvananthapuram Air India flight that was bound for Thiruvananthapuram from Cochin International Airport was scheduled to take off at 11:40 pm on December 22, after an initial delay of about an hour. But the dignitary reached the airport at around 11:28 pm.
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According to reports, the flight captain allegedly shut the door after he was informed that the Governor had crossed the bridge on the Airport road, and was about a kilometre away. The flight had already been pushed back when his car reached the tarmac.
“We were informed about the Governor’s journey. The flight from Delhi to Thiruvananthapuram via Kochi was scheduled to reach Kochi at 9.15 pm, but it landed in Kochi at 10.58 pm. The pilot said passengers would protest if the flight was further delayed,” Air India Kochi manager Patric Xavier told The Indian Express.
Finally, the Governor had to go to Thiruvananthapuram by road on Wednesday morning.
While the Governor has lodged a complaint with the Civil Aviation Ministry seeking an inquiry into this incident, it is quite clear that the pilot did the right thing as the push back had already begun, and opening the gate would only make sense if there was some kind of medical or technical emergency. This step by the pilot would have hopefully taught the governor and others like him that a VIP cannot always board the flight at the last minute, and ordinary passengers are not bound to wait for them every single time.