Sunday, August 6, 2017

AI flight in US denied take-off over seat belt tags

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 (FAA) 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, FAA did not allow the plane — which was booked to capacity — to take off.

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 AI 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, AI 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 FAA. However, we would take necessary action to ensure such things don't recur. A lot of new seat belts have been ordered."

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