Air India Express sacks 25 crew members; tells rest to join work or leave

Sources said Air India Express has cancelled at least 60 flights for Thursday, 9 May 2024 due to the non-availability of cabin crew

Mass leaves by cabin crew members have caused inconvenience to Air India Express passengers (photo: IANS)
Mass leaves by cabin crew members have caused inconvenience to Air India Express passengers (photo: IANS)


Air India Express has issued termination letters to around 25 cabin crew members who reported sick leading to the cancellation of more than 100 flights, airline sources said on Thursday, 9 May.

The Tata Group-owned airline has also given an ultimatum to the remaining cabin crew members reporting sick to join back duty by 4 pm on Thursday or face termination, they added.

Air India Express has also cancelled at least 60 flights for Thursday due to the non-availability of cabin crew, the sources said, adding that mass leaves by a section of the cabin crew have caused immense inconvenience to passengers.

There are around 1,400 cabin crew, including about 500 at the senior level, at the airline.

Over 200 cabin crew started reporting sick from Tuesday night to protest against alleged mismanagement at the airline that caused the cancellation of over 90 flights.

In a post on X, the civil aviation ministry said it has called for a report from Air India Express regarding the cancellation of flights, and asked it to resolve issues promptly.

The airline has also been advised to ensure proper facilities to passengers while airport operators have been requested to provide proactive assistance to affected passengers.

Last month, the Air India Express Employees Union (AIXEU), a registered union, which claims to represent around 300 cabin crew members, mostly seniors, also alleged that mismanagement of the affairs has affected the morale of the employees.

Congress leader K C Venugopal sought immediate intervention of civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia to resolve the strike at the airline.

Meanwhile, Air India Express passengers who were promised travel to various destinations from airports in Kerala were left stranded on Thursday as their flights were unexpectedly cancelled for the second day in a row.

Travelers at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Kannur airports faced disappointment when flights to Gulf nations were called off at the last minute for the second consecutive day.

This sudden cancellation has sparked frustration and caused inconvenience among passengers who relied on the airline's assurance for their travel plans.

"I was assured by Air India Express yesterday that I can travel to Qatar on Thursday. But they did not keep their promise. I was told at the last moment that my flight has been cancelled again for the second consecutive day," an aggrieved passenger at Karipur airport in Kozhikode told reporters.

Another passenger, who claimed his work visa would expire today, told a TV channel at Thiruvananthapuram airport that when his flight to the Gulf region was cancelled on Wednesday, he was given a ticket for Thursday.

"When I arrived here (Thiruvananthapuram airport), the airline told me that the flight was cancelled. If I do not reach my place of work by tonight, my visa will expire and I will lose my job," he said.

Another passenger at the Thiruvananthapuram airport said that AI Express asked him to take a ticket on another airline, but he was unable to do so.

"Why can't they help us get tickets on another airline? Let them charge us for that," he said.

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