Indian minister queues up with economy passengers, shocks AIE staff

About 200 flights have been cancelled by the state carrier during last four months

Airline and airport staff in Kochi, India, were shocked when an Indian minister walked in unannounced and flew to Dubai to check the plight of passengers.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation KC Venugopal then rejected the airport staff's request to check him in through the VIP entrance and insisted on queuing up with the economy class passengers.

He travelled to Dubai on an Air India Express flight IX345 from Kochi on Tuesday evening.

Once on the flight, he interacted with co-passenegrs, when one of them informed him that he had almost lost his job in Dubai due to a cancelled flight.

Indian expats living in the Gulf have launched a series of campaigns against Air India’s attitude with regard to its operations to and from the region.

There have been at least 200 cancellations during the last four months alone.

According to the minister there would be a full fledged integration of the airline’s different sections within three to four months.

Speaking to the media during a programme at Calicut Press Club last week, the minister said that killing the public sector airline would not be an ideal solution. “Our responsibility is to strengthen Air India and solve the problems," he said.

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