No end to Air India’s problems any time soon | delhi | Hindustan Times
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No end to Air India’s problems any time soon

Despite announcing walk-in interviews and fresh tie-ups with ground handling agencies, the chaos of Air India entered into its 15th day and likely to continue in coming days.

delhi Updated: Nov 14, 2010 23:37 IST
Faizan Haider

Despite announcing walk-in interviews and fresh tie-ups with ground handling agencies, the chaos of Air India entered into its 15th day and likely to continue in coming days.

The problem for Air India started from October 31 when they decided to shift arrival of 11 of its domestic flights to the newly built Terminal 3.

The limited airline staff had to manage five terminals: domestic arrival and departure at Terminal 1, international arrival and departure at T3 and domestic arrival at T3. The staff was staggered leading to shortage of hands.

Unmindful of the staff shortage problem, Air India also went ahead and started 15 non-stop flights for international destination from eight cities. From 486 flights in a week from Delhi, Air India has gone up to 770 flights a week.

“The flights were increased as we wanted to make Delhi our hub. Now since there is staff shortage, we have taken interviews of experienced crew so they can be immediately pressed into service after

hiring. Till then the problem

will remain,” an Air India official said.

In the last 15 days, Air India has operated nearly 1,500 flights from Delhi, of which over 1,000 failed to take off or land on

time. The shortage of ground staff led to chaos as passengers found it difficult to trace their baggage.

“Air India SATS used to handle ground operation for us. Once we announced new flights, the company started facing staff shortage and failed to recruit more staff. So we decided to tie up with two more ground handling agencies — Cambata Aviation and Bird group,” the official added.

Both Cambata and Bird group are handling nearly 20 flights each of the national carrier. Apart from taking these steps, the airline has also asked sportspersons to report on duty, cancelled the leaves of operational staff and also asked the cabin crew to report an hour earlier.

"Nothing seems to be working for Air India. The decision to increase the number of flights is hurting them. They should have had a proper plan in place before shifting to T3 and announcing new flights," said a former Air India employee.

On Sunday also, a Chennai-bound flight of Air India got delayed due to crew shortage.

"Air India has failed to manage the situation. We have been forced to shout slogans and protest as there is no one to help," said TV Krishnan, general manager, BHEL, a passenger of the Chennai-bound flight. The flight was scheduled to take off at 4:30 pm but was rescheduled to 10:30pm.