Air India has announced plans to send a replacement aircraft to Magadan, Russia, where 216 passengers and 16 crew members have been stranded since their flight from Delhi to San Francisco experienced a technical issue with one of its engines.
The airline stated that a ferry flight is scheduled to depart from Mumbai at 1 pm on June 7, 2023, subject to regulatory clearances. This flight will transport the passengers and crew of flight AI-173 onward to San Francisco. Additionally, the ferry flight will carry essential supplies, including food, for the stranded passengers.
Due to infrastructural limitations in the remote Russian town, Air India confirmed that all passengers are being accommodated in makeshift arrangements, including a local school, after efforts to secure hotel accommodations with the assistance of local government authorities proved challenging.
As Air India does not have any staff members based in Magadan or Russia, the airline is coordinating ground support through constant communication with the Consulate General of India in Vladivostok, the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India, local ground handlers, and Russian authorities.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has reported that Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia is closely monitoring the situation, and the MoCA remains in touch with Air India. The airline has assured that it is taking care of the passengers and their needs.
The United States is also closely monitoring the situation, as there is a possibility that US citizens are among the stranded passengers. The US State Department’s Principal Deputy Spokesperson, Vedant Patel, stated that they are aware of a US-bound flight that made an emergency landing in Russia and are continuing to monitor the situation. Air India has publicly announced that they are arranging a replacement aircraft to continue the passengers’ journey.
The incident highlights the challenges faced by Air India in providing support and assistance to passengers in remote locations. Efforts are underway to ensure the well-being and smooth onward travel of the stranded passengers, as the airline aims to resolve the situation promptly.