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Was Bhagwant Mann deplaned for being drunk? Data supports Lufthansa’s claim on delayed flight

Amid allegations by the Opposition that Lufthansa's Frankfurt-Delhi flight was delayed due to a 'drunk' Bhagwant Mann, the airline has claimed that the delay was due to operational issues. But does Lufthansa's claim on flight delay hold?

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Bhagwant Mann wearing yellow turban speaks
The AAP had denied the Opposition's charge that Bhagwant Mann (in pic) was deplaned for being 'too drunk to walk'. (Photo: PTI/File)

In Short

  • Opposition parties alleged that Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann was deplaned for being drunk
  • AAP denied the charge and said the CM returned to Delhi as per schedule
  • Lufthansa stated that its flight was delayed due to operational issues

By India Today Web Desk: On Monday, social media went into a frenzy over unconfirmed reports and subsequent political allegations that a Frankfurt-Delhi flight was delayed due to Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who was deplaned for being ‘too drunk to walk’. German airline Lufthansa later issued a clarification that the delay was caused due to “delayed inbound flight and an aircraft change”.

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The airline, however, did not make any comment on Bhagwant Mann’s alleged condition, citing privacy concerns. But, does the clarification issued by Lufthansa on the issue of its flight getting delayed due to operational issues hold?

The flight data of the Frankfurt airport and the aircraft suggests that the claims of change in aircraft and delayed inbound flight could be true. Open-Source data reviewed by India Today shows that the aircraft that flew as Lufthansa LH 760 from Frankfurt to New Delhi on September 17 was already flying late on its schedule.

Also Read | Days after drinking water of Kali Bein river, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann admitted to hospital

The Boeing 747-830 aircraft with registration 'D-ABYG' flew from Sao Paulo, Brazil for an almost 11 hour flight to Frankfurt. The flight was scheduled to land at Frankfurt at 13.30 local time. However, its departure from the origin airport was delayed for about an hour.

The Lufthansa flight eventually landed at 14.19 at the German airport. The aircraft was then used as the Frankfurt-New Delhi LH 760 flight that took off at 15.52 local time.

Considering that the Delhi flight was scheduled to depart at 13.40, even if the inbound Sao Paulo flight would have landed on its time, i.e., 13.30, it would not have been enough for the aircraft to be ready for the next flight. This further indicates that the Sao Paulo-Frankfurt aircraft was not likely scheduled to fly as the Frankfurt-Delhi flight in the first place and could have been part of the last-minute 'aircraft change'.

It is also against general aviation practice to schedule an international flight within minutes of its arrival from its previous destination.

POLITICAL BLAME GAME OVER 'DRUNK MANN'

Earlier, opposition leaders quoted media reports alleging that Bhagwant Mann was deplaned at Frankfurt airport as he was too drunk to walk.

“Disturbing media reports quoting co-passengers say Punjab CM was deplaned from a Lufthansa flight as he was too drunk to walk. And it led to a 4-hour flight delay. He missed AAP's national convention. These reports have embarrassed & shamed Punjabis all over the globe. Shockingly, the Punjab government is mum over these reports involving their CM,” opposition leader Sukhbir Singh Badal posted on Twitter.

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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) refuted the allegations against Bhagwant Mann, saying the Punjab CM returned as per his schedule.

"He took a returning flight on September 18 from Germany. He had to land at New Delhi on 19th of September. The allegations being levelled by the opposition are baseless, rubbish and false propaganda," AAP spokesperson Malwinder Singh Kang said.

Lufthansa also issued a statement on the delay but did not make any comments on the Punjab chief minister. “For data protection reasons we do not provide any information regarding individual passengers,” the airline said in a statement.

WATCH | Was Bhagwant Mann deplaned in Frankfurt?

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