Less than a month after Air India put a time-bound ban on leaves for its cabin crew, the ailing Maharaja on Tuesday loosened seat belts.
In a circular issued on July 5, the loss-making national carrier announced incentives of Rs15,000 to flight attendants who work between August and October without taking more than two leaves in each month.
The move seems to be softening of stance when compared with the airline’s June 9 order, which put a blanket ban on flight attendants’ leave, citing the Haj operation and demanded ‘strict compliance’ from the crew.
AI chief Ashwani Lohani did not respond to HT’s query on the U-turn.
“First, they tried to put pressure. Now, they are offering us incentives,” said a flight attendant, requesting anonymity.
While the schedule for this Haj season has not been released, the airline operated 230 flights carrying approximately 40,000 pilgrims in two phases in 2015. The airline could even scale up operations, said sources.
AI passengers have been facing frequent flight delays for some time for want of crew.
For instance in May, nearly 44,000 AI flyers faced waits exceeding two hours, mostly during the peak summer travel period. The data was recently released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.