By Ashoke Raj
New Delhi [India], May 15, ANI: Upon not presenting a mandatory negative RT-PCR report at the Zagreb airport in Croatia, the entire SpiceJet crew had to spend 21 hours inside the aircraft and then return to the country.
The flight took off from Delhi on Tuesday and landed at the Zagreb airport where the Croatia Aviation Authority did not allow SpiceJet's crew to step out of the plane.
According to SpiceJet spokesperson, the aviation authority had given a go-ahead to enter the country without a COVID test report when the flight departed from India.
"Prior to departure from India, email confirmation was received from Croatian authorities that RT-PCR is not required for crew. On arrival in Zagreb, the crew was told that orders have changed. SpiceJet crew rested in the aircraft for 21 hours (as mandated by regulation). They then flew back to Delhi," said the spokesperson.
The massive surge in COVID cases across the country is the reason for asking India-based airlines for a compulsory RT-PCR test report at the Croatian airport.
"Due to sudden and massive increase in COVID cases in India, they have now been instructed that RT-PCR is required. This came as a surprise," added the spokesperson.
India's low-cost airline SpiceJet has submitted a full report related to the case to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and complied with the rules.
"Since the crew could not fly back immediately due Flight Duty Time Limitation (FDTL) restrictions, bedding, food, water was provided in the aircraft. The plane was cleaned and DGCA permission was obtained," said the spokesperson.
India's aviation watchdog DGCA official has admonished the SpiceJet pilots and officials on the said incident.
In the last 24 hours, India has recorded 3,26,098 new COVID-19 cases and 3,53,299 recoveries. The cumulative caseload of the country touched 2,43,72,907 including 36,73,802 active cases and 2,04,32,898 total recoveries. (ANI)