In alleged violation of an order issued by the aviation regulator, Air India continues to operate many of its long-haul international flights with less than 16 flight attendants, claimed cabin crew.
Last week, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had asked Air India to maintain crew strength of 16 on such US-bound flights. However, the airline has failed to depute more than 12 crew members on such flights, claimed the crew. “They (AI) are blatantly violating the order by operating flights with 10 to 12 flight attendants,” said an airline source requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The alleged violation exposes AI passengers to a safety risk because fatigued crew cannot be alert during on-board emergencies. “It is unfair to expect prompt action from the crew that does not get the mandatory rest on board,” added the source.
At any point of time, 10 flight attendants man the jumbo planes used on such long international routes. The DGCA settled for a strength of 16, so that the crew gets rest in turns.
This is the second time the airline has violated the regulator’s directive concerning the crew’s on-board rest. The crew also alleged that the regulator has been going soft on the airline. “The DGCA is aware of the violations but has failed to act on the matter,” said another cabin crew member. With little help from the regulator, a text message has been circulating amongst the the cabin crew union to conduct an emergency general body meeting. AI did not comment on the issue.