AI staff shortage hits service
Mumbai: Several international travellers flying Air India have complained of poor service on board because the national carrier continues to operate flights with less than the approved staff strength.mumbai Updated: Dec 14, 2010 02:03 IST
Several international travellers flying Air India have complained of poor service on board because the national carrier continues to operate flights with less than the approved staff strength.
G Shivalkar, a passenger on board a New York-Delhi-Mumbai flight on December 6, recently filed a complaint about delay in cabin service. “Passengers complaints are pouring in by the dozens because on most flights the cabin crew is short-staffed,” said an airline operations official requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to talk to the media.
Airlines sources said that different airplanes allocated on international routes are being operated short of at least three to four crew members. For instance, the airline has approved a crew count of eight flight attendants for an Airbus A 310, which has a passenger capacity of 181, but the airline is operating flights with only five crew members (see box).
Last week, the crew met the airline management twice to sort out the issue. However, the matter remained unresolved. Earlier, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had also pulled up the airline on the issue expressing safety concerns.
The aviation regulator had said that operating flights with less crew could have an adverse impact on their health. And, if the crew does not get the mandatory rest on board, it could be slow in acting to mid-air emergencies such as a fire.
The airline spokesperson failed to give a response. Meanwhile, the crew is not getting support from the union, the All India Cabin Crew Association. Sources said that the union is unable to act because its general secretary, Sanjay Lazer, who has two administrative chargesheets pending against him, has ignored their complaints.
On December 11, a section of the crew had asked Lazer to resign but he refused.