Air India to send ferry flight to fly passengers from Russia to San Francisco

Mumbai: Air India will operate a ferry flight from Mumbai at 1300 hrs on Wednesday to Russia to fly the passengers bound for San Francisco, who are currently stranded, following a technical issue en route.

“A ferry flight is scheduled to operate to GDX (Magadan) from Mumbai, at 1300 hours IST on June 7, subject to necessary regulatory clearances, which would take passengers and crew of AI173 onward to San Francisco,” the airline said in the statement on Wednesday.

The ferry flight would be carrying food and other essentials for the passengers, it said.

Air India flight AI173 operating Delhi-San Francisco on June 6, had developed a technical issue en route with one of its engines.

The flight with 216 passengers and 16 crew was diverted to Magadan, Russia (GDX), where it had safely landed.

The airline also said that “all of us at Air India are concerned about the passengers and staff and are making every effort possible to operate the ferry flight as soon as possible, and to ensure the health, safety, and security of all while they wait.” Given the infrastructural limitations around the remote airport, “we can confirm that all passengers were eventually moved to a makeshift accommodation, after making sincere attempts to accommodate passengers in hotels locally with the help of local government authorities,” Air India said.

On Tuesday Air India had said that “all passengers and crew of AI173 are presently accommodated in local hotels in Magadan.” It noted that the airline 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 said it engaged with the local authorities at Magadan Airport that extended all cooperation and support upon the flight’s arrival there.