Air India cancels Newark – Delhi flight; diverts aircraft to pick up Indian Cricket Team from Barbados

Air India has become the hero again, uplifting the Indian Men’s Cricket Team. They were stuck in Barbados after a hurricane disrupted their plans to return to India after winning the T20 Cricket World Cup 2024.

Air India deputes Boeing 777 to bring the Indian Cricket Team home.

The T20 World Cup-winning Indian team departed for New Delhi on an aircraft chartered from Air India on Wednesday, July 3, 2024, after being stranded in the Caribbean islands for over three days due to Hurricane Beryl.

The flight is being operated by a Boeing 777LR bearing registration VT-AEE, one of those that Air India leased after Delta let them go. It has Business Class Suites, Premium Economy, and Economy seats on board.

a group of people boarding an airplane

Indian Cricket team, support staff, administrators and media board an Air India flight to Delhi from Barbados Airport. (Image courtesy Doordarshan)

The special Air India flight assigned the callsign AIC24WC (Air India Champions 24 World Cup) took off around 4.50 am local time from the Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) in Bridgetown on July 3, 2024, and will land in New Delhi on Thursday at 6 am IST on July 4, 2024.

a map of the world

Air India’s aircraft VT-AEE en route to Delhi from Barbados (courtesy FlightRadar24)

The Indian Cricket Team was originally booked on Emirates to fly back to India (via New York JFK and Dubai). Emirates is a sponsor of the ICC World Cup T20.

Here is the Indian Cricket Team captain, Rohit Sharma, posing with the trophy from his suite on board.


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A post shared by Rohit Sharma (@rohitsharma45)

Air India cancels the Newark – Delhi operation to accommodate this flight.

Air India cancelled its scheduled Newark-Delhi AI 106 flight on Tuesday, July 2, 2024, and used the aircraft to operate the charter. The aircraft waited at Newark (EWR) for most of the day to be able to operate the flight to Barbados (the Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) in Bridgetown.

This has triggered a request from the Indian regulator, DGCA, who wants a “factual report” from Air India on the incident. As per DGCA’s rules issued in 2017, to be able to operate a non-scheduled international flight, the airline cannot take away from scheduled operations. This implies the airline should have a spare aircraft to be able to operate the charter.

a screenshot of a document

“For operation of charter flights by scheduled operators, there shall be no disruption to their scheduled flights,” the rules state.

Air India “sources” have talked to some media and told them that the Newark – Delhi flight passengers were accommodated on other Air India flights and even partner airlines.

However, this is not true in totality. For instance, here is one

Also, in an era when airlines are running full loads between India and the US (both non-stop, via Europe and the Middle East), I can’t figure out how Air India found over 300 seats at distressed passenger rates so quickly to help everyone go home without having any issues with the displacement.


Air India is operating a charter, AIC24WC, between Barbados and Delhi to bring home the Indian Cricket Team, the support staff, the administrators and displaced media back to India. The contingent is expected to land in Delhi on July 4, 2024, in the wee hours of the morning. To operate this flight, Air India cancelled AI 106, scheduled to operate on Newark – Delhi on July 2, 2024. The airline claims all passengers were rebooked, but some passengers state otherwise.

What do you make of the Air India charter to bring home the Indian Cricket Team?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Whether it’s a PSU, or run by the Tata group, the babu culture persists. It’s a company with terrible service, and that terrible service is backed by terrible customer-oriented policies. Yet another instance of this afore -, mentioned policies is this incident, where in order to accommodate the cricket team, they don’t give a second thought to causing inconvenience to their booked customers.
    Forget customer-friendly policies; Air India rules in making customer- unfriendly policies. They really should get an award.

  2. This is completely shocking and disgusting and irresponsible and outrageous. Unlike in the past however when Air India was an unaccountable political entity, we know have real people in a real corporation to hold accountable for this embarrassment. Tata Group, what do you have to say for yourself and your airline which has made India seem like a banana republic on the world stage and stranded 300 passengers whom it contracted to fly to Delhi and whose plans were upended?

    • Its not 300 passengers and most of the number was already accommodated. Very few passengers got affected an it is not clear if they are the ones who refused alternative arrangements provided. There was a category 4 hurricane in Barbados and the charter is as good as helping any other stranded citizens out. Desperation to use phrases such as “Banana Republic” is as good as calling a non-reclining chair as “End of humanity”.

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