Having been stranded in Russia, hundreds of Air India passengers bound for the US continued their journey on a replacement plane. Photo/Reuters
MOSCOW – Hundreds of destination passengers United States of America (US) stranded in Russia were on their way to San Francisco on a replacement flight after their plane was forced to make an emergency landing. This was announced by the airline Air India.
Earlier, an Air India plane bound for New Delhi-San Francisco was forced to make an emergency landing in a remote port city in Russia’s far east after one of its engines experienced technical problems. Air India said that the aircraft landed safely and the local airport authority extended all cooperation and support after the arrival of the flight.
According to Air India, the plane carrying US passengers took off from Magadan, Russia, at 10:27 local time on Thursday (8/6/2023) and was expected to arrive in San Francisco at 12:15 local time.
Air India said it was deploying additional support at the airport in San Francisco to carry out clearance formalities on the arrival of the flight, which was carrying all stranded passengers and crew.
“The team at SFO stands ready to provide all necessary assistance to passengers, including but not limited to medical treatment, ground transportation, and onward connections in applicable cases,” he added, using the code for San Francisco International Airport as quoted by NBC.
The airline has been criticized for its decision to make an emergency landing in Russia amid geopolitical tensions over the war in Ukraine, which disrupted air routes. While US, European and Japanese airlines have stopped flying over Russia, Air India and other airlines continue to do so.
The airline sent a backup plane on Wednesday to pick up 216 passengers and 16 crew members. US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said Wednesday that fewer than 50 US citizens were on the flight.
Passengers have expressed concern over the situation and complained about the condition. Air India, which has no Russia-based staff members, said in an earlier statement that despite making genuine efforts to accommodate passengers in local hotels with the help of local government authorities, passengers were eventually transferred to emergency accommodation.
“We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused,” the airline said on Twitter.