Mumbai: A holiday tour of 180 students from a prestigious Mumbai school to Chandigarh is in limbo as Kingfisher airlines is short of aircraft. The red-faced tour operator and the airline are now desperately trying to think of a way of making the tour happen without any inconvenience.
"We had booked 180 students from the Chaturbhuj Narsee Memorial School on Kingfisher Airline's Mumbai-Chandigarh flight and back, in July. The travel date is October 23, yet on the first of this month the airline informed us that they have cancelled their direct flights," said Anil Garg, managing director, Tour India tours and travels.
The students were to fly to Chandigarh on October 23 on flight IT-3601, and from there proceed to Shimla, Kullu and Manali. "The airline is asking us to go by their Mumbai-Delhi flight and then take another one to Chandigarh. But they fly smaller aircraft ATRs on the Delhi-Chandigarh route, which do not have the capacity to fly 180 students. They want us to take the students in 2-3 batches," Garg added.
The tour operator is also concerned about the rise in expenditure if they follow the airline's advice. "We will then have to reach Delhi a day in advance, which will further drive up accommodation costs. If we buy tickets from other airlines after a refund, it will cost us Rs8.85 lakh more than what we paid," he says.
When contacted, the spokesperson for Kingfisher airlines confirmed the details but said they were still working on a solution. "An Airbus 320 that was plying on that route has problems with its right engine. So, we have temporarily shut down the route and will start it again after the aircraft is back in service. We will soon be able to come up with a solution on this issue," he said.