SpiceJet crew spend 21 hours inside aircraft at Zagreb airport over RTPCR rule change

The flight crew of ‘s Delhi-Zagreb flight had to spend around 21 hours inside the aircraft at the Zagreb airport as there was a sudden change in rules making negative RTPCR test results mandatory for anyone coming from India, the airline said on Saturday. The crew were not allowed to come out of the plane and they conducted the return flight to Delhi — after the 21-hour rest period — without passengers or cargo.

“Prior to departure from India, email confirmation was received from Croatian authorities that RTPCR is not required for crew,” the airline’s spokesperson said.

On arrival in Zagreb on Tuesday, the crew, including four pilots, as well as cabin crew members, was told that the orders have changed.

“Due to sudden and massive increase in COVID cases in India, they were then instructed that RTPCR test is required. This came as a surprise,” the airline’s spokesperson said. India recorded 3,26,098 coronavirus cases and 3,890 deaths on Saturday.

Since the crew could not fly back immediately due the FDTL (flight duty time limitation) restrictions, bedding, food and water was provided in the aircraft, according to the spokesperson.

“Aircraft was cleaned. DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) permission was obtained. Crew rested in the aircraft for 21 hours (as mandated by regulation).

“They then flew back to Delhi. All crew confirmed that they were comfortable and happy with the arrangements,” the spokesperson added.


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