Outbound Travel

Vizag opting for more overseas vacations

VISAKHAPATNAM: An Air India flight from Mumbai to Bhubaneswar with 155 passengers on board returned to the city after being airborne for about 35 minutes after the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit on Monday afternoon.

A spokesperson for the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) told The Hindu that a full emergency was declared at 2.30 pm for Air India flight AI 669 — which went airborne at 2.14 pm from Mumbai for Bhuvaneshwar — returning due to suspected smoke in cockpit, reports The Hindu.

“The aircraft has landed safely. The emergency has been withdrawn,” the spokesperson said.

Airline sources said that the aircraft had been taken to a remote bay where Air India’s engineering staff would examine the aircraft. Efforts were on to accommodate the passengers on to another aircraft for their flight to Bhubaneswar.

An Air India spokesperson in a statement said, “AI 669 received pushback at 1.45pm. The flight got airborne​ around 2.15 pm and returned​ to Mumbai at 2.50 pm. All 155 passengers are safe. Initially, the local authority declared an emergency. But it was later withdrawn. The flight is on ground. Another aircraft is ready and all the passengers will depart by new aircraft at 4.15 pm.”Ashish Dhariwal and his family are enjoying this summer amid the picturesque Mount Titlis in Switzerland. “This indeed is heaven on earth. It is no doubt the new holiday destination for Indians,” he says and adds that 90% of the tourists there are Indians.

Siddharth Marupeddi enjoyed a premium ferry ride from Singapore to the Indonesian island of Batam as part of his summer travel itinerary this month. Similarly, Bina Rao is gearing up for her 19-day American vacation that includes a Bahamas cruise holiday.

Notwithstanding the industry apprehension due to demonetisation and the revision in service tax earlier this year that made holiday packages costlier, vacationers from the Port City are going all out to explore new destinations overseas this summer.

From Caribbean cruise holidays to skiing in the Swiss Alps and stepping into a rich heritage trail in Russia, tour operators from the city have seen a different pattern emerging this summer with an increase in overseas travel bookings for many new destinations.

According to Thomas Cook India, there is strong uptake for long-haul destinations like Europe, Canada, U.S. and Australia. The travel company— which recently expanded its international footprint by acquiring tourism firm Kuoni’s global network of destination-management specialists in 17 countries—is upbeat on its growth in outbound tours from tier-2 cities like Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada.

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