A Delhi-bound KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight from Amsterdam was denied permission to land and forced to return by Indian civil aviation authorities on Saturday. The Indian side claimed that the flight did not have landing clearance, however, authorities in the two countries are in touch to resolve the issue.
It is believed that KLM Flight 871 was carrying around 125 Indian passengers including a pregnant women and was scheduled to land at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi at 1:10 a.m. Indian Standard Time (IST) on Saturday.
Officials in Delhi said that the flight was told to return to Amsterdam while it was flying over Russia. The confusion among civil aviation officials arose due to guidelines issued last week in which it was mentioned that flights carrying passengers from the European Union would not be allowed to land after 18 March.
However, India’s Ministry of External Affairs on 19 March stated: “If any passenger not travelling through a restricted country as per the advisory, there should be no problem”.
The KLM flight, which was prevented from landing, was carrying passengers in transit at Schipol Airport who had flown in from the US and Canada to catch a connecting flight.
The airline's website shows a rescheduled timing and claimed that flight will now be landing at 11:30 p.m. Indian Standard Time (IST) at Delhi Airport — minutes before the strict prohibition on international flight comes into force.
Meanwhile, passengers on the flight have been complaining about the difficulties they have been facing:
104 Indians in transit #stuck at #amsterdamairport. @KLM flight flew halfway & returned @MEAIndia @DrSJaishankar @narendramodi @ndtv @aajtak @ABPNews @TheQuint @ZeeNews @HardeepSPuri @AmitShah @PMOIndia@MoCA_GoI big goof up by u! Pls help us 🙏 #indiansstuckatamsterdam #Corona pic.twitter.com/orBV2pMlW7— Shikhar Agrawal (@sa_shikhar) March 20, 2020
She boarded the Flight KL0871 from Amsterdam to New Delhi. But this flight is redirected back to Amsterdam. She is pregnant and travelling alone and is stranded since almost 3 days now. Please provide assistance. @IndinNederlands @PMOIndia @MEAIndia @Schiphol @KLM pic.twitter.com/6F1VdoNZXZ— Bhamini (@VisputeBhamini) March 20, 2020
The Indian government confirmed 271 positive cases in India on Saturday.