Manpower shortage hits return flights from Libya

New Delhi: Facing shortage of manpower and logistic equipment at Tripoli, only one Air India flight returned on Friday with 255 Indians from the strife-torn north African country, taking the total number of evacuees to 3,517.

Flight (AI-160), an Airbus 330, landed at IGI airport at 04.40 AM with 255 passengers, an Air India official said.

Air India has been operating three aircraft to evacuate stranded Indians from Libya but yesterday only two flights were sent as the third plane had returned very late from that country.

The third one left for Libya this morning, the official said, adding today one of the three planes (an Airbus 330) left Delhi at 3.30 AM (AI 161) while another (AI 181 – a Boeing 747) at 08.30 AM and the third one (AI 141- a Boeing 777) would leave at 09.30 PM.

Shortage of ground handling staff at Tripoli airport and lack of logistic equipment are affecting the return flight time of the national carrier.

"We have planned the turnaround time of three hours for these flights but due to shortage of staff, sometimes it takes upto six hours for a plane to take-off after landing," the official said.

"Though we are sending the staff from here but they are engaged in doing check-in and issue of boarding cards, he added.

Till yesterday, a total of 3,262 Indians have been evacuated from Libya.