GoAir flight to Port Blair diverts as GoAir filed Cargo flights and carried passengers

This is a developing story, so there will be versions updating as things happen, but there is a severe need for correction in the systems and processes of GoAir. On December 15, 2020, GoAir operated a Chennai – Port Blair flight G81305, which turned back halfway and landed back at Chennai Airport.

The return of this flight back to the Chennai Airport predictably caused a social media storm on Twitter.

The social media posts, however, is not the reason to write up this post. There seems to be a big contradiction in what GoAir conveyed to the authorities at Port Blair, and what they did.

Here is the latest schedule for flights into Port Blair Airport updated on December 12, 2020.

a screenshot of a screenshot of a flight schedule

The interesting portion for us is in Red. GoAir has clearance to operate a Cargo Only flight on Tuesday and Wednesday between Chennai and Port Blair Airports, which is December 15 and 16, 2020 in this case. On both these dates, the flight was sold as a passenger flight and was turned around midway to return to Chennai.

a screenshot of a map

GoAir is operating these flights as cargo flights due to the limitation placed on the number of passenger flights that can be performed to Port Blair at the moment, and operating passenger flights in the return leg. Between all airlines, only six commercial flights can arrive into Port Blair per day for the moment. The earlier limits were much lower and increased progressively.

Devesh at Bangalore Aviation chimed in about the havoc that such an operation could cause. As per him, if a commercial flight were operated while filing only for a Cargo flight, passenger liability would not be covered under the insurance for the flight.

There seems to be more to this story than inclement weather, which GoAir told some passengers was why this flight came back to Chennai. GoAir did not take care of the passengers when they got back at Chennai, and just let them be and did not take care of them at all.

Unfortunately, if the flight turned back due to the difference between the flight plan filed and actual operations of the flight, then this is gross negligence on the end of GoAir. I hope they come out and clarify what happened in this case. On December 16, 2020, which was Wednesday, another flight was operated which carried passengers. This flight was allowed to land at Port Blair. However, there was no medical team present to inspect the CoVid-19 negative reports and administer tests to those who did not carry a report at the time of boarding.

We will update this story if there is a statement made by GoAir on the incident.

What do you make of this entire GoAir Fiasco?

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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. Same scenario happened with me..when I was flying from ahmedabad to port Blair..they have cancelled flight without giving any intimation..I came back from airport when they informed no flight…they should understand the situation wat they are making for passengers…anyhow I traveled through train from ahmedabad to Chennai..due to emergency. And they booked flight from Chennai to port Blair..and now they are making lame excuses for refunding process.. they are pathetic. Taking advantage of the situation.

  2. Dear Air India lovers and bashers, take your fights elsewhere. Not appreciated on this website. This post is about GoAir, not about Air India. I hope I’ve made it clear enough. Further off-topic comments will be deleted.

  3. First of all Passengers should thankful and greatfull to the airlines for not landing in port blair due to bad weather , we can fly to Port Blair if we are alive in life. THANKS TO THE AIRLINES ONCE AGAIN.

  4. I booked go air direct flight from Srinagar to bagdogra one month advanced for 3 December 2020 as it was the only direct flight via New Delhi.
    GO Air cancelled my ticket in the last moment and gave rescheduled options at 1100hrs Appx. With extra
    money… only till New Delhi.
    I took Airasia due to emergency with little extra cost. Now this lowly airlines
    is not ready to refund and put some flimsy excuses that I travel again within specific time… They expect to travel to srinagar to avail my cancelled ticket…very funny.

  5. Firstly I hope all unfortunate passengers are safe and secure…
    This here is a clear example of deep insides of aviation sector where airlines secretly manipulate things …
    Which is quite common everywhere.
    Port Blair might have travel restrictions being a small island and to prevent spread of virus..no of passenger flights maybe limited…
    What I believe may not be true but is truly only my opinion is GO air used cargo slots to carry passengers more like sneak in or sell soem tickets..

    Now why it’s not safe or appropriate

    1. A cargo only flight will not need the crew to deboard and only drop cargo hence medical team is not required.. ( which is a perfect sneaking opportunity for Such airlines)

    2 . So the arriving passenger from Chennai will not have to undergo any medical examination and can literally enter port Blair…. Thus if someone on board is a carrier can easily spread virus around ….

    Thanks to staff at chennai who found it and in time cancelled their clerance…

    Well in india it’s rules are to be broken…I don’t know why…

    I wud say airline is liable for a penalty .thank you ..
    And this has got nothing to do with air asia india Flap issue…whoever said or brought it has got nothing to do with such a incident …are u dumb or maybe a gaurav Taneja fan …
    Thank you

    • Hey Sreehari,

      Thanks for the comment.

      The Air Asia India issue was brought up as an instance to show the kind of devious underhand practices which private players use in order to save costs on fuel and thereby also put passengers lives at risk.

      Because at the end of the day, they only care about their bottom lines and they will go to any extent (breaking the rules if necessary) in order to achieve that.

      And you have rightly opined that GoAir tried to use cargo slots to carry passengers more like sneak in or sell some tickets which I wouldn’t put it past them to indulge in such practices.

      All airlines in India and the world are bleeding, and this includes the LCCs as well.

      So it is not surprising to see airlines like Air Asia India and now GoAir indulging in such under hand practices to save costs and increase their revenue.

      • @Ashish, chiming in here. Flap 3 and Flap 4 are Airbus recommended settings and what an airline does with them is perfectly legit, so don’t let a grudged pilot tell you what is correct and what is not. The two incidents are not comparable and hence, I’d appreciate if you don’t drag the AirAsia India incident, which is sub judice, here. Cheers.

        And to everyone name-calling on this thread, stop it and behave like adults else I’d have to delete all your comments.

  6. This is an incredible story.

    We have always been on these blogs, extolling the virtues and efficiency of the private carriers and to be fair, there are some aspects which they do absolutely right unlike PSUs like Air India.

    However, this story regarding GoAir flying passengers on a supposedly cargo flight and a couple of months back I remember there was a similar story with AirAsia India where pilots had to land with a certain flaps settings so as to save up on fuel brings up an unflattering aspect of these private players which is now slowly but surely coming out in the public domain.

    Private carriers may not always be the model avatars one should aspire to it seems.

    This sort of negligence and irresponsibility on the part of the airline is totally unacceptable.

    They give low, attractive fares to the passengers but it seems that this comes at a cost of governance / compliance.

    And in a market such as India where profit margins are so thin, is it any surprise to see these airlines indulging in such practices ?

    • Are you dumb af? Air india is the stupidest airline ever. Plus compare the on time record and skytrax rating of both of them. That’s the leading authority on how good an airline is. Plus we all know what kind of operation air india has given that hardly anyone recieved ontime payment and pilots were fired while they were en route while officials hardly got any paycut. Look at Vistara and their fleet, and then look at air India, which charges the same as them. Plus air india is a full service carrier and isn’t it amazing that budget carriers are better. Air india should technically compete with vistara which it can’t . So stop blabbering ashish

      • Hey Ashish,

        Thanks a lot for the comment.

        Actually I have mentioned in the first para itself that there are certain aspects which the private carriers do well unlike PSU’s like Air India so let us not turn this into an AI bashing exercise (there is already enough stuff available online!).

        Air India is a public sector airline, it is not intended nor is it expected to “compete” with anyone. Profit is not their objective..unlike Vistara and other private carriers.

        Air India is bleeding due to the decision to buy new aircraft in 2005 or merge both Air India and Indian Airlines was of the then previous government. The fact that it did not work out as intended is not the fault of the Airline or it’s employees and they cannot be penalized for it.

        Air India is catering to the majority of the people in the country, which is 70-80% of the entire population.

        I doubt whether AI particularly cares about the 10-20% of the higher / elite status passengers for whom luxury is a focus and priority.

        I believe that this notion that privatization and private ownership of public enterprises translates into improved efficiency or even better quality of public service needs to be scrutinized closely.

        During this pandemic, when the private carriers were busy milking this opportunity by putting up their flights on sale and then later on cancelling them and providing them credit shells, AI was the only airline which actually was operating flights and getting pax stranded in other countries back home.

        How many private carriers did that ?

        In-fact when I was stuck in Mumbai and wanted to return back to BLR after the flight restrictions were removed after 25th May, I booked with GoAir and immediately after making the payment, the airline cancelled the flight and tried to keep the money with them.

        I then booked via AI and the flight actually happened.

        And then there was a pilot of Air Asia India called “The Flying Beast” by his YouTube channel who claimed that the airline was trying to save fuel by making pilots land with certain flap settings.

        No one said AI is perfect there are many legacy issues that need to be sorted out at the organization.

        But if we think that private sector knows how to run airlines and they are paragon of virtues, then that thinking is also warped as they are employing all sorts of tactics in order to increase their bottom lines and often without any moral / ethical compunctions like the cases of Air Asia India and now GoAir have shown us.

        • Now I know you’re seriously brain-dead. Bruh the private carriers weren’t allowed to operate flights. You go and stick to air india m8

          • Would any private carrier had done the Wuhan evacuation, stop bashing AI which has done a lot of national service like the Iraq and Yemen evacuation, and before you tell me to stick to AI, I already do and proud of it

  7. Irresponsible of you to show tweets where passengers have shared their PNRs. Thought you might have been tuned into this as an aviation ‘expert’.

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