AI flying without enough crew, says union

An Air India union has alleged that the airline is operating several domestic flights with an inadequate number of cabin crew members.

A complaint sent by the All India Cabin Crew Association (AICCA) on January 6 stated that many domestic flights operated by the national carrier flew with fewer than the minimum crew count prescribed by the aviation safety regulator. HT has a copy of the complaint.

“This is a big safety concern. They have allowed passengers to board flights with just two cabin personnel on board. How can two people handle an emergency situation such as an urgent evacuation?” said a cabin crew personnel-requesting anonymity.

The quorum for cabin crew aboard a flight is based on the number of doors the aircraft has and the distance a flight is assigned to travel.

For the airline’s domestic fleet, which largely comprises Airbus planes, every flight should have at least five cabin staffers according to the rules laid down by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The AICCA’s complaint also stated that many AI flights take-off without conducting the mandatory crew briefing. Crew briefing a drill in which the cabin crew in-charge briefs flight attendants about aircraft exits, procedure during mid-air emergencies and the protocol to follow during a hijack.

“Pre-flight briefing in a mandatory DGCA requirement. It is surprising that the airline has failed to take notice of such a serious violation,” said another AICCA member. The complaint added that often the briefing is conducted on board the aircraft amid passengers, which is not allowed. “How can one discuss secret information such as hijack protocol among passengers? It could lead to panic,” added the member The AI spokesperson did not respond to HT’s calls or a query sent over email.


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