Sunday, August 06, 2017

Air India flight in United States denied take-off over seat belt tags

NEW DELHI: The American air safety regulator on Friday stopped an Air India aircraft to take off as scheduled from Chicago for India due to missing tag numbers from several seat belts.

The surprise check by the Federal Aviation Administration found a large number of belts on seats of the Delhi-bound Boeing-777 (VT-ALK) without the mandatory tags bearing their technical standard order (TSO) number. Though not a safety issue, Federal Aviation Administration did not allow the plane — which was booked to capacity — to take off.

Air India had another B-777 parked in nearby New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. The airline took out some seat belts from this plane (VT-ALJ) and flew them to Chicago on a Delta flight. Once there, these belts were installed on the seats of the  Air India plane at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. This 342-seater plane then took off for Delhi after a delay of more than eight hours on Friday after its schedule take-off time of 1.30 pm.

As many as 44 passenger seats and 12 flight attendant seats had to be declared unserviceable for this journey due to their missing TSO tags. Clearly,  Air India is not happy.

An airline spokesman said: "The seat belts were perfectly fine. Only some had tags worn out. This is an instance of impractical or irrelevant stipulations being imposed on Air India by Federal Aviation Administration. However, we would take necessary action to ensure such things don't recur. A lot of new seat belts have been ordered."

A senior  Air India official said that Federal Aviation Administration is subjecting the Maharaja's aircraft to stringent checks at all the stations it flies to — New York JFK and Newark, Chicago, Washington and San Francisco. "The checks have intensified in the recent past. While technically Federal Aviation Administration was correct in pointing out the missing TSO tags, we told them that new seat belts have been ordered and the old ones will be replaced very soon. Still the aircraft was not allowed to take off till we got some belts from another of our aircraft in New York," said the official. 

Original article can be found here ➤

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