Bengaluru airport incident: AIX Connect removes manager from duty; senior airline officials apologise to K’taka Governor

New Delhi: AIX Connect, formerly known as AirAsia India, is part of Air India Group

BY | Monday, 31 July, 2023

Budget airline AIX Connect has removed its manager from duty at Bengaluru airport following the incident of a flight taking off without Karnataka Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot last week, a source said on Monday.

Besides, senior officials of the airline on Monday met the Governor in Bengaluru. They apprised him about the situation and the steps taken and also apologised for the incident, the source said on the condition of anonymity.

On July 27, an AIX Connect from Bengaluru to Hyderabad took off without the Governor over an alleged delay in reporting and later, his office lodged a complaint at the Bengaluru airport police station.

AIX Connect, formerly known as AirAsia India, is part of the Air India Group.

The source on Monday said the airline’s airport manager concerned at the time of the incident was immediately removed from duty and an investigation is going on.

On July 28, the airline expressed regret over the incident and said that an investigation was being conducted.

Following the incident, the Governor’s Protocol Officer M Venugopal had lodged the complaint over a “breach of protocol”.

As per the complaint, Gehlot was supposed to fly to Hyderabad on the AIX Connect flight at 2.05 pm on July 27.

“Accordingly, the Governor left Raj Bhavan at 1.10 pm and reached the VIP Lounge of Terminal-1 at 1.35 pm. By that time, the luggage belonging to the Governor was loaded onto the plane,” it said.

The Governor reached the ladder of the plane at 2.06 pm.

“However, AirAsia (AIX Connect) employee Arif denied entry to the Governor saying that there was a delay in arrival, though the door of the plane was still open,” the complaint alleged.

“Besides this, the Governor’s luggage was unloaded in which 10 minutes were lost. The Governor was still standing near the ladder and the door of the plane was still open. Yet, the Governor was ignored and insulted by not allowing him inside the flight,” Venugopal had said.

Gehlot returned to the VIP Lounge of the Bengaluru airport and took another flight after 90 minutes to reach Hyderabad.

“This incident has deeply hurt the Governor, who is the first citizen of Karnataka. By obstructing him from discharging his official duty, his protocol has been breached. We request you to initiate legal action against (AIX Connect Station Manager) Zico Soares, Arif and AirAsia (AIX Connect),” as per the complaint.

Regretting the incident, AIX Connect, on July 28, also said, “An investigation is being conducted and appropriate action will be taken”.

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