DGCA Issues Notice to Air India Over Flight Delays as Tata Group Struggles with Airline Revamp

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued a show cause notice to Air India on Friday due to recent incidents of long flight delays causing significant discomfort to passengers. These delays violated various DGCA regulations.

The notice specifically mentioned two international flights: AI 183 from Delhi to San Francisco on May 30 and AI 179 from Mumbai to San Francisco on May 24. The DGCA highlighted that passengers on these flights faced discomfort due to insufficient cabin cooling.


The regulator noted repeated issues where Air India passengers faced discomfort, which goes against several DGCA rules. Passengers on Air India’s North American flights have complained about frequent delays, broken seats, and non-working in-flight entertainment systems. The Tata Group, which took over the airline in January 2022, is struggling to upgrade the airline’s fleet, some of which are 15 years old.

These North American routes generate the highest revenue for the airline. Air India planned a $400 million investment to upgrade 40 Boeing 777 and 787 planes starting in mid-2024, but this has been delayed to 2025 due to global supply chain issues affecting parts availability. To manage the situation, Air India leased 11 aircraft from Delta and Etihad.

On Thursday, a flight to San Francisco was initially scheduled to depart around 3:30 PM but was delayed by six hours and eventually rescheduled for Friday. Airline officials explained that a crew change was necessary and offered a full refund and hotel stay to all passengers.

Last week, another issue occurred when passengers were downgraded from premium economy to economy due to a last-minute aircraft swap.

A source mentioned that the airline attempts to position these aircraft on routes to Europe and North America, but regular maintenance issues often cause delays. This situation is expected to improve once Air India receives new planes. The airline has ordered 70 widebody aircraft, including Airbus A350 and Boeing 777, with deliveries starting in 2026.

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