Air India’s Delhi-Chicago flight was delayed by more than 15 hours on July 30 as a member of the cabin crew did not report for duty.
The 329 passengers travelling to Chicago waited the whole night as the airline, which had no standby crew in place for a contingency, scrambled to arrange a replacement.
The flight, which was to depart at 2am, was rescheduled and left at 5:30pm.
“The flight was delayed due to cabin crew shortage,” an Anir India spokesperson told HT. Sources said top Air India officials are furious with the long delay and an inquiry has been ordered.
“It was her rest period. Crew is being called at short notice to operate flights. To operate a long haul flight, crew requires a minimum two nights stay at the station, which she hasn’t got,” said an official of the All India Cabin Crew Association.
“Moreover, the management needs to have a standby crew,” the official said.
Aviation expert Rajji Rai said: “Air India is no stranger when it comes to keeping passengers waiting. But such incidents tarnish its image deeply.”
As first reported by HT on August 1, Air India issued notices to eight senior Dreamliner captains after its Delhi-Hong Kong flight was delayed by more than two hours on July 29 for want of a captain.
Air India’s poor on-time performance (OTP) forced the previous secretary V Somasundaram to personally monitor the airline’s OTP on a daily basis.
HT had reported on February 24 that nearly 1,000 Air India flights were delayed between January and October 2014 due to late arrival of cabin crew. A total of 988 flights were delayed in the first 10 months of 2014 because of “late sign on/ boarding” of cabin crew, or an average of more than three delayed flights a day.