Wheelchair issue: Alliance Air probe finds aged passenger got service after delay at Delhi airport

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Mumbai, Jul 10 (PTI) State-owned Alliance Air's internal probe has found that there was a delay on the part of its ground handling agency in providing a wheelchair to an octogenarian woman passenger at the Delhi airport this week, an incident for which the airline had tendered an apology, according to a senior official.

Amid reports that there was a delay of around three to four hours in providing the wheelchair to the passenger, the airline's investigation found that the wheelchair was made available within an hour.

As per the probe report, the wheelchair assistance was provided to the passenger right from the disembarkation and the passenger was not abandoned by the airline at any point from deplaning to her arrival at the exit of the terminal building at the Delhi airport, the senior airline official told PTI.

A social media post, on July 8, alleged that an 84-year-old woman, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, had to wait for over three hours for a wheelchair at the tarmac of the airport after her arrival from Jaipur on an Alliance Air flight on July 7.

Following the post, Alliance Air had "apologised" to the passenger and launched a probe into the incident.

"It took 42 minutes, and not three hours as reported in some newspapers, for the passenger to arrive at the exit of the terminal building with baggage from the time the aircraft arrived (9.31 pm) at the remote bay at Delhi Airport on July 7," the official said quoting the investigation report.

After completion of deboarding of the passengers, the first coach left with all passengers except wheelchair passenger and co-passenger, her son, were inside the aircraft as they were waiting for the wheelchair to arrive.

"The wheelchair assistance was provided to the passenger from the disembarkation, from crew van till exit from terminal (building)," the official added.

Further, the airline's probe report said the assisting staff reached the ramp without the wheelchair.

The crew had requested the ground staff to arrange for a wheelchair, which was taking time and before a wheelchair could be brought from the terminal building, the co-passenger insisted on using their own wheel chair and deplaned with his mother to save time, it added.

Meanwhile, the passenger's own wheelchair was retrieved and handed over to her son at the ramp but the cabin crew advised the woman passenger to wait till the time the ground staff would come to attend to her.

As the bus was taking time to return to the parking bay, a crew van passing by with cockpit crew on board took the passengers till the arrival bus gate and from there a helper and attendant took her to the exit point while the co-passenger collected the baggage from the conveyor belt, according to the probe report.

"Notwithstanding the probe findings, we admit there was a let up from our handling agent not placing a wheelchair at the aircraft at time of arrival and asking for it subsequently which resulted in a delay of the passenger deplaning the aircraft," the official added. PTI IAS RAM TRB