Red tape leaves India-bound travellers stranded at Yangon airport

Red tape leaves India-bound travellers stranded at Yangon airport

Flight scheduled for Sunday morning gets Ministry of Civil Aviation nod late on Monday

While India has resumed international flights, red tape left roughly 50 passengers stranded for nearly 48 hours at Yangon airport as the baton to allow chartered flights passed on from the DGCA’s hands to the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Nearly 50 Indians, including workers, businessmen and CEOs arrived at the Yangon International Airport for a chartered flight booked with Myanmar National Airlines on Sunday at 4 a.m. for their flight to Kolkata at 8 a.m.

However, the flight didn’t take off in the absence of a green flag from India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation. The permission was granted only late on Monday. 

“Many passengers left and came to the airport again at 4 a.m. on Monday and waited till 3.30 p.m. but there was no sign of the flight. Many others, who had nowhere to go to and had travelled from far away cities to reach the only international airport in the country, spent Sunday night at the airport without food or water as shopkeepers have abandoned their shops in protest against the military junta,” said Kavita Kumar from Bangalore, whose relatives were among the stranded passengers.

A government official in the know explained the reason for the delay and said that until Sunday, when international flights resumed for India, DGCA used to grant permission for relief and repatriation flights but won’t be doing so anymore and the authority for giving clearance for such charter flights now rests with the Ministry of Civil Aviation. 

Myanmar is yet to permit commercial flights. Ms. Kumar said passengers were issued tickets nearly three weeks back and the airline had more charters planned to India in the days to come. The plane was a 48-seater ATR aircraft. 

It is learnt that the Ministry of Civil Aviation granted the permission late on Monday evening, but it was not clear when the flight was scheduled for take off. 

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