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Severe staff shortage at AI cripples services

More than 100 passengers of Air India's Toronto-bound flight had to spend four hours at the Delhi airport and another four hours inside the plane before they were asked to de-board on Tuesday. Faizan Haider reports.

india Updated: Nov 10, 2010 00:29 IST
Faizan Haider

More than 100 passengers of Air India's Toronto-bound flight had to spend four hours at the Delhi airport and another four hours inside the plane before they were asked to de-board on Tuesday.

Reason: First, there was not enough staff to issue boarding passes. By the time passengers boarded the plane, the cabin crew's shift got over and they refused to fly. The AI 187, scheduled to take off at 1:45 am on Tuesday, will now depart same time on Wednesday.

This is not a stray case. For the last 10 days consecutively, Air India passengers have reported similar incidents.

Although Air India is claiming the problem will be solved once it starts full-fledged operations from the newly built Terminal 3 from Wednesday night, the issues of staff shortage will remain.

From October 31, Air India decided to shift the arrival of 11 domestic flights to Terminal 3. The limited staff had to manage five terminals: domestic arrival and departure at Terminal 1, international arrival and departure at T3 and domestic arrival at T3.

Unmindful to the staff shortage problem, Air India also went ahead and started 15 non-stop flights for international destination from eight cities.

Air India, which used to operate 486 flights in a week from Delhi, is now operating 770 flights. The carrier has added nearly 300 flights in a week but the number of staff is same, an official said.