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Air India Express cancels more than 90 flights as crews take ‘sick leave’

An airline spokesperson said a section of their cabin crew has reported sick at the last minute, starting last (Tuesday) night, resulting in flight delays and cancellations.
hemin Joy
Last Updated : 08 May 2024, 04:08 IST
Last Updated : 08 May 2024, 04:08 IST

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Air India Express, on Wednesday, cancelled more than 90 flights, after a section of cabin crew members reported sick “at the last minute” in protest against the alleged mismanagement at the Tata Group-owned airline.

The low-cost subsidiary of Air India will curtail some more flights over the coming days, to deal with non-availability of crew members, its Chief Executive Officer Aloke Singh said. Air India Express operates around 360 flights daily in the ongoing summer schedule.

An airline spokesperson said a section of their cabin crew has reported sick at the last minute, starting last (Tuesday) night, resulting in flight delays and cancellations.

“While we are engaging with the crew to understand the reasons behind these occurrences, our teams are actively addressing this issue to minimise any inconvenience caused to our guests as a result,” the spokesperson said.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has called for a report from the airline regarding cancellation of flights and asked them to resolve issues promptly. The airline has also been advised to ensure facilities to passengers as per the guidelines.

The protest in Air India Express, which is being merged with AIX Connect (formerly AirAsia India), comes almost a month after pilots of sister-airline Vistara went on protest over salary structure, leading to cutting down capacity by 25-30 flights daily for some days.

The merger process has led to discontent among a section of cabin crew with sources claiming that around 200 cabin crew have reported sick since Tuesday night as part of their protest, which led to disruption in Bengaluru, Kozhikode and Kochi airports.

Several people were taken by surprise when their travel plans went into doldrums after sudden cancellations. Kochi and Kannur airports, where a number of people were headed to the Gulf countries, saw affected passengers protesting. Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode airports also had similar protests.

Some claimed that they were informed about the flight cancellations only after they completed their security check and were waiting to board the flight. Many of them claimed that they could lose their jobs if they do not reach their place of work today, while some others’ work visas are about to expire, PTI reported.

Air India Express Employees Union (AIXEU), which claims to represent around 300 cabin crew members, had alleged that mismanagement of the affairs has affected the morale of the employees.

Apologising to the customers for the “unexpected disruption”, the airline spokesperson said those impacted by the cancellations will be offered a full refund or complimentary rescheduling to another date. “Guests flying with us today are requested to check if their flight is affected, before heading to the airport,” the airline spokesperson said.

(With agency inputs)

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Published 08 May 2024, 04:08 IST

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