Air India delays: Raju says sorry

Indiscipline and crew shortage creating problems for Air India’s schedules, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju admitted in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday as he apologised for the huge number of delays and cancellations.

Replying to question on flights cancellations and delays by the national carrier, he said, "I am sorry about the on-time performance (of Air India). It is nothing to be proud about." He said they are drawing strategies to counter the numerous delays and cancellations by the national carrier.

Raju was responding to supplementary questions during Question Hour. Members cutting across party lines expressed concern over the delays by Air India and private carriers. Acknowledging that service disruption is the "worst thing" in civil aviation, he said they are trying to get out of scenario of indiscipline in Air India.

“Indiscipline, besides crew shortage, is a problem. Air India's OTP is not good. We are trying to improve it. Indiscipline has to be curbed,” he said.

There has been regular complaints from passengers about the delays and cancellations of Air India at the last minute. Many a time, flights were delayed because crew never reached on time. According to the reply provided, over 3,400 flights of different airlines, including Air India, were cancelled in December last year alone.

Offices closed

To another question, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said in a written reply that Air India is in the process of closing down its offices in Cairo and Tehran while it has already shut down booking offices in Zurich, Chittagong and Vienna.

Besides, a committee is looking to address issues of downsizing the carrier's Toronto station and the process is in the final stages, he noted. 

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