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Stranded passengers bound for US flew from Russia, Air India says

Hundreds of US-bound passengers who were stranded in Russia are en route to San Francisco on a replacement flight, Air India said.

The flight took off from Magadan, Russia, at 10:27 a.m. local time Thursday (7:27 p.m. Wednesday ET) and is expected to arrive in San Francisco at 12:15 a.m. local time Thursday, the airline said on Twitter.

Air India said it was mobilizing additional support from San Francisco airport to complete customs clearance on arrival of the flight, which is carrying all stranded passengers and crew.

“The SFO team stands ready to provide all necessary assistance to passengers, including but not limited to medical care, ground transportation and onward connections where applicable,” he said. added, using the San Francisco International Airport code.

The airline had been criticized for its decision to carry out an emergency landing in Russia amid geopolitical tensions linked to the war in Ukraine, which has disrupted air routes. While US, European and Japanese carriers stopped flying over Russia, Air India and other airlines continued to do so.

The original Delhi-San-Francisco flight on Tuesday was diverted to the remote port city in Russia’s Far East after one of its engines encountered a technical problem. Air India said the plane landed safely and local airport authorities “extended their full cooperation and support upon the arrival of the flight”.

The airline sent a reserve plane on Wednesday to pick up what it said were 216 passengers and 16 crew on board. State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said Wednesday that fewer than 50 US citizens were on board the flight.

Passengers had expressed apprehension about the situation and complained about the conditions. Air India, which has no staff based in Russia, said in an earlier statement that although it has made “sincere attempts to accommodate passengers in local hotels with the assistance of local government authorities”, the passengers were “eventually moved to makeshift accommodation”.

“We truly apologize for any inconvenience caused,” the airline said. said on Twitter.


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