121 passengers reach Kochi after 10 hours

After waiting for more than 10 hours, 121 passengers out of 179 flyers of the Air India Express IX 1132, which had an emergency landing in Bengaluru on Saturday night, reached Kochi. Authorities informed that the rest of the passengers would reach Kochi later during the day, around evening. The flight had an emergency landing following a fire scare. The passengers staged a protest in Bengaluru airport as the airline issued boarding passes arbitrarily. Earlier, Aby Antony, one of the passengers, told Manorama News that the airline did not address their issues in a timely manner.

Alternate flight arrangement triggered protest
According to Aby, around 4 am on Sunday, the airline authorities said they would arrange hotel facilities and an alternate flight for the flyers. “When we asked how we would enter the airport after exiting, they agreed to issue boarding passes in advance. We later learned that not everyone will get the passes,” Antony said. The issue was so random that only three of a four-member family got passes. Similarly, a daughter was left out while her parents got the passes. “When asked about those left out, we were told that alternate flights would be arranged later in the day, around 12.30 pm or 4 pm, for them. That’s when we decided to protest, demanding flights for all passengers, together,” he said . Antony also alleged that the airline had not arranged food after 4 pm on Saturday. “We weren’t even served a tea in the morning,” he said.

The emergency landing
The flight made the landing at Bengaluru after a fire was noticed in one of its engines, the Bangalore International Airport Ltd said on Sunday. All the passengers and crew were evacuated and no one was injured, Air India Express said in an earlier statement. According to sources, the fire was noticed minutes after the takeoff.
The crew members alerted the Air Traffic Controller and a full-scale emergency was declared. Soon after the emergency landing at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in Bengaluru, the fire was extinguished. “On May 18, 2024, IX 1132 from Bengaluru to Kochi made an emergency landing at BLR Airport at 2312 hrs, due to a reported fire in one of the engines,” a spokesperson of the BIAL, which manages KIA, said in a statement .

“The crew completed an evacuation with no injuries to any guests. We regret the inconvenience this has caused and are working to provide alternative arrangements for our guests to reach their destination as soon as possible,” the airlines said. “A thorough investigation with the regulator shall be completed to establish the cause,” it said.
(With PTI inputs)