Two days after an Air India cabin crew union claimed the airline was making them work longer than permitted by the country’s aviation safety regulator, AI withdrew the duty schedule on Friday.
Airline sources said the rollback was prompted after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) rapped the airline for safety violations.
On Wednesday, the All India Cabin Crew Union (AICCA), the airline’s cabin crew union, had reported that 18 out of the 38 flight duty shift patterns released by the airline exceeded work hours permitted by the DGCA.
“A big safety concern was evaded owing to the timely intervention by the DGCA,” said an AICCA member requesting anonymity.
Sources added that the new schedule was issued to tackle a protest by flight attendants that ended on Wednesday. For two days starting from January 9, at least 269 flight attendants had refuse to operate flights because the airline had not paid them lay over allowance for five months. The allowance is paid in foreign currency for expenses during lay overs at international destinations.
Flight duty rules set by the DGCA state that cabin crew operating long haul international flights cannot fly for more than 45 hours in the span of seven consecutive days.
However, the airline’s schedule exceeded the limit by two to three hours — the new schedule asked a set of cabin crew to operate a return flight from Delhi to London and a Delhi to New York return flight within seven days — meaning a duty time of 47 hours in a week.
An AI spokesperson did not respond to whether it would take action against staffers responsible for the flawed schedule.