Ahmedabad: Around 215 Haj pilgrims were stranded for more than 18 hours at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) Airport here on Thursday, after two Bhopal- and Indore-bound Air India flights got delayed, the passengers said.
"We had to stay at Ahmedabad airport for more than 18 hours today as two Air India flights got delayed without any prior information," alleged N S Khan, a Haj pilgrim from Indore in Madhya Pradesh.
Khan said that the pilgrims had reached here at 3.30 AM today, and since then the Air India flight, which was scheduled at 8.30 AM to Bhopal, got delayed.
"We had several aged passengers, who had checked-in during the morning. Our boarding passes were also issued, but the flights were not there," said Khan, adding that they were not even allowed to go outside the airport to have food.
"We were not even provided food until 5 PM. What they provided later was low quality food in the evening. But since then, we were stranded there. Later, an Air India official told us that they would arrange some flight to Bhopal at 10 PM," Khan alleged.
The Haj pilgrims, including 130 Indore-bound passengers and other 85 pilgrims from Bhopal had arrived at the city airport at 3.30 AM today from Madina by Saudi Airways flight number 5018, an airport official said.
"We arrived at the city airport at 3.30 AM today. Our flight was scheduled at around 8.30 AM. However, the Air India flight to Bhopal got delayed and we had to stay here for more than 18 hours," alleged Zakir Siddiqui, another Haj pilgrim from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
Siddiqui said that there were several aged people including women who waited for a long time.
An Air India spokesperson said that some 450 passengers had arrived from Saudi Arabia and around 250 were flown to their destination by an aircraft of a private airlines.
The plane was supposed to return to Ahmedabad and carry the rest of the passengers to Bhopal and Indore, but it did not returned, the official said, adding now Air India has made arrangement for another plane which would fly Bhopal-bound passengers and some Indore-bound too.
"Rest of the Indore-bound passengers have been provided accommodation and they would be flown tomorrow," the spokesperson added.