Air India’s decision to temporarily stop offering the pick-up and drop service to its crew has irked the staff.
Sources in the cabin crew union said that the airline stopped the service last week owing to labour problems in the transport company hired for the job.
The national carrier caters to close to 26,000 passengers daily according to the civil aviation ministry’s data on market share. “We operate flights round the clock. How does the company expect the crew to take cabs to reach the airport at odd hours,” said a member from the cabin crew union requesting anonymity, as the person is not authorised to talk to the media.
An airline spokesperson confirmed the suspension of the pick-up service. “Service to the crew operating wide bodied flights is partially affected owing to the internal labour issues in the transport company. The matter is being sorted out to ensure normal operations,” said an airline spokesperson.
Crewmembers have warned that this could lead to flight delays as the crew could have trouble reaching the airport on time. “Crew duty timings are made according to the rules laid down by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). As a result, they cannot operate a flight if they report late on duty,” said senior cabin crew personnel.
The personnel added that delay of a single flight could have a cascading effect on many flights because one set of crew operates three to four flights in a day.
Union sources added that women members feel unsafe travelling alone late at night to report for duty at odd hours. “How does the company expect women to get a cab in the wee hours to reach the airport?” asked a woman crewmember requesting anonymity.
The union added that if the rule to provide office transportation to women applies to other industries such as call centres then the government should not allow the airline to get away by giving lame excuses.