A passenger from AirAsia flight #I50582 say the captain tried to “choke” passengers by turning the air conditioning to full blast in order to try to get them to deplane.
Passenger Dipankar Ray, who is the Indian Oil Corporation executive director (West Bengal), and onboard the aircraft told New Indian Express (NIE), “The flight was scheduled to depart at 9 am and was initially delayed by 30 minutes. After boarding, we kept sitting inside the aircraft for one-and-a-half hours with no food or water at all.” He also told the paper that the captain instructed the passengers to deplane without explanation. “When passengers refused to deboard due to heavy rains outside, the captain put the air-conditioning blower on full blast to hound the passengers out. It created a scary scene as heavy fog was created inside the plane and it was very suffocating,” he said.
Mr Ray further told the NIE that many female passengers started vomiting and children started crying.
This is the way @AirAsia choked us out for deplaning when we asked them the alternate arrangement after flight i50582 was grounded after boarding @sureshpprabhu ..
Avoid @AirAsia , they may choke you to death pic.twitter.com/siaSut0dMK
— Dipankar Ray (@dray_ioc) June 20, 2018
The airline told the NIE, “AirAsia India would like to confirm that flight i5583 from Kolkata to Bagdogra was delayed by 4.5 hours due to a technical requirement. AirAsia regrets the inconvenience caused to guests on account of this disruption and would like to reinstate that the airline always prioritises safety above all. [The fog] is a normal occurrence on-board all aircraft when the air conditioning is operated in high humidity conditions.”
The airline also said that refreshments were provided. Mr Ray disputed this however, saying the airline told them while they were deplaning to show their boarding passes to get food in the airport. “When we reached the food court, they refused us. There was no communication from AirAsia at all. We had to pay. When we were boarding the flight second time, then they gave us one sandwich and a 250 ml water bottle. This is an unacceptable treatment.”
DGCA is reviewing the incident and we will take appropriate follow up action. https://t.co/Ymc0lpNTuS
— Jayant Sinha (@jayantsinha) June 21, 2018
Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha, tweeted that the incident is under investigation by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).