Air India ferry flight finally took off from Mumbai for Magadan in far east Russia at around 1520 hours on Wednesday to fly its 216 San Francisco-bound passengers stranded in the port city since Tuesday.
'The airline said the aircraft operating the ferry flight will take all passengers and crew onward to San Francisco on June 8.
As many as 216 passengers and 16 crew have been put up in make-shift accommodation in the remote Russian town after the Delhi-San Francisco flight was diverted to Magadan, following a snag in one of the Boeing 777 engines, where it made an emergency landing.
The replacement aircraft was scheduled to depart at 1300 hours (IST) from Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on Wednesday.
"Our ferry flight AI195 from Mumbai (BOM) to Magadan, Russia (GDX) is now airborne, and is expected to arrive at GDX at 0630 Hours (local time) on 08 June 2023," Air India said in a statement.
It said that a team from the airline is also on board the flight to provide any support that the passengers and staff at GDX may require.
The ferry flight is carrying essentials in addition to a sufficient amount of food to cater to all passengers on the onward flight scheduled from Magadan (GDX) to San Francisco (SFO), Air India said.
On Tuesday, Air India's Delhi-San Francisco flight AI 173 carrying 216 passengers and 16 crew on board a Boeing 777 aircraft diverted to Magadan Airport and made an emergency landing there after one of the engines developed a snag mid-air.
Air India in its earlier statement had said that all the passengers and crew were provided "hotel accommodation".
On Wednesday it said that "infrastructure constraints" have forced it to lodge them in make-shift accommodations despite "making sincere attempts to accommodate passengers in hotels locally with the help of local government authorities".
It also said that Air India does not have a staff based in the remote town of Magadan or in Russia, and the support that is being provided to the passengers "is the best possible in this unusual circumstance".