More than 100 Air India flight attendants were allegedly found unfit to fly after the aviation safety regulator revised the parameters for crew medical checks.
According to the revised rules issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) last May, weight of the flight attendants’ was calculated as per body mass index (BMI).
According to the airline’s cabin crew union periodically more than 100 flight attendants have been benched since the introduction of the revised rule. Union members who have challenged the decision at the Bombay high court said that the rule does not apply to them, as the DGCA has not issued licenses to them. “According to the revised rule only licensed cabin crew has to follow the new medical checks. But the DGCA is yet issue licenses to us,” said a union member.
The rampant grounding of flight attendants could also be one of the reasons behind the acute crew shortage faced by the national carrier on its international flights.
“While the crew shortage is primarily owing to poor scheduling the benching of cabin staff on medical grounds could be a contributing factor,” said a senior airline official requesting anonymity. The airline witnessed multiple flight delays over the past two weeks owing to crew shortage. An Air India spokesperson did not comment on the crew union’s opposition to the revised medical parameter. But the spokesperson denied that it accounted for crew shortage. “There has been crew shortage which has caused some flight disruptions but it is not owing to medically unfit crew,” said the spokesperson.
Industry sources said the stringent measure had little impact on private airlines because they are already strict about their crews’ weight requirements.