In a cost-cutting bid, Air India (AI) will stop serving meals to economy class passengers on short haul domestic flights from February 1.
The debt-ridden national carrier has replaced meals comprising roti, rice and curry spread with dry snacks such as biscuits and sandwiches for economy class passengers travelling on flights with a flying time less than 90 minutes.
Business class fliers, however, will continue to get meals.
AI operates about 20 flights out of Mumbai to cities such as Goa and Ahmedabad.
“It is a cost-cutting initiative followed across the industry. And, since the snacks would be served in take away boxes passengers have the option to carry them,” said an AI spokesperson.
Cabin crew personnel with the airline said significant number of passengers skip meals on short haul flights, which leads to wastage. “Passengers barely have enough time for a proper meal when the flying time is less than 90 minutes which includes take-off and landing,” said the spokesperson.
For flights lasting up to an hour, the airline will serve dry biscuits and juice. Hot beverages such as tea and coffee will be served only on request.
Passengers on flights with a 90-minute duration will get sandwiches, brownies and juices. Last August, the airline’s finance department had pulled up the in-flight services for introducing lobsters, assorted sandwiches, and premium branded fruit juices in its on board menu for business travellers.
The airline made losses for three consecutive years and has a debt of Rs40,000 crore. It has witnessed frequent protests from employees and vendors owing to delay in salaries and payments in the past few months.