A British Airways flight from Delhi was delayed by 13 hours on Sunday after the pilots and the rest of the cabin crew reportedly refused to fly due to inadequate sleep.
Scheduled to take off from the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi at 2.30 am on Sunday, the British Airways (BA) flight with 285 passengers, was held up and the takeoff finally re-scheduled for 3.15 pm. It took off five minutes later.
Apologising to the passengers for the delay, the BA officials said that such a step was taken keeping their safety in mind.
“It was not just the pilot but the entire cabin crew which was suffering from lack of sleep. This was due to some disturbance at night in the hotel they were putting up in. Had it been only the pilot, we could have still managed to take off because we can handle such a case between the first officer and the captain. But it was the entire cabin crew which was tired,” Radhika, the official spokesperson of BA, Delhi, said.
“Hence British Airways did not take the risk and delayed the flight by 13 hours,” she said, adding that 12 hours is the minimum time needed to recuperate.
Radhika added, “We will take up the matter with the hotel authorities since the disturbances there cost us the delay,” she said. However, while the airlines cited lack of sleep, according to sources there could be other reasons as well.
“This is not the first time that a British Airways flight was delayed. Quite often the pilots are not allowed to fly because of alcohol intake shortly before the flight. According to rules by International Civil Aviation Organisation, pilots should not consume alcohol 12 hours before a flight,” said a source. “The entire crew suffering from want of sleep is unheard of, and they were also staying at a five-star hotel where it is unlikely that disturbances kept them awake,” the source added.