Double misfortune for stranded Air France passengers: replacement aircraft also grounded in Siberia

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On 11 November, 282 Air France passengers left Paris CDG on board a Boeing 777-300ER (F-GSQC) with destination Shanghai Pudong. Flight AF116, however, diverted to Irkutsk, Siberia after a bitter odour and a light fume was observed in the cabin. Eventually, all 282 passengers were taken to hotels for the night while Air France sent a replacement aircraft.

On Monday evening, the passengers – supposed to arrive in Shanghai the day before at 17:45 (UTC +8) – finally boarded the replacement Boeing 777 aircraft (F-GSQB). The 777, however, also got grounded. According to the passengers on board: “due to a hydraulic leak“.

Serre Manon, one of the passengers that got stuck in the Siberian city, explains that they still don’t know when to leave for Shanghai. Furthermore, during the night of Monday to Tuesday, the passengers were stuck inside the aircraft for several hours as the Russian authorities disallowed them to return to their hotel.

Stuck in Irkutsk for two days now, the situation is getting worrying,” (s)he tweeted in despair.

Air France is now sending a third Boeing 777 (F-GZNE) to recover the stranded passengers. In a statement (read below), the airline regrets this exceptional situation and wishes to apologize to customers for the inconvenience and significant delay experienced. “The safety of its customers and crew is Air France’s absolute priority,” the airline added.

AIR FRANCE INFORMATION ON AF116 FLIGHT OF NOVEMBER 10

Air France confirms that due to a technical problem, flight AF116 on 10 November from Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) to Shanghai (PVG) operated by a Boeing 777 diverted to Irkutsk (IKT), where it landed normally at 8.10 Paris Time on Sunday 11 November. As soon as possible, customers were taken care of and accommodated in two hotels designated by the local authorities pending a re-routing solution to Shanghai (PVG). In addition, an Air France team based in Moscow went to Irkutsk on Sunday 11 November to handle the situation.

Due to the impossibility of completing the repair work within a short timeframe, a second B777 was sent to Irkutsk. At the airport, this second aircraft had also experienced a technical incident making the flight from Irkutsk to Shanghai impossible to operate. The customers were again taken care of and accommodated.

A third Boeing 777 left Paris-CDG to Irkutsk today, Tuesday 13 November, in order to transfer passengers to Shanghai as per the following flight times –

  • The aircraft departed from Paris at 14:43 (local time) and should be landing in Irkutsk at 22:15 (Paris local time)
  • Expected departure from Irkutsk is at 00:50 (Paris local time) on 14 November, with an arrival in Shanghai at 05:00 (Paris local time) on 14 November.

The company’s commercial department will contact the customers concerned to propose suitable commercial measures.

Air France regrets this exceptional situation and wishes to apologize to customers for the inconvenience and significant delay experienced. The safety of its customers and crew is Air France’s absolute priority.

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