Air India Express cancels over 80 flights due to cabin crew shortage

This incident follows earlier grievances raised by the Air India Express Employees Union regarding alleged mismanagement and unequal treatment of staff

Representative image of Air India Express (photo: National Herald archives)
Representative image of Air India Express (photo: National Herald archives)


Air India Express has cancelled more than 80 flights and scores of flights have been delayed as a section of cabin crew members have reported sick to protest against the alleged mismanagement at the Tata Group-owned airline, sources said on Wednesday, 8 April.

The airline, which is in the process of merging AIX Connect (formerly AirAsia India) with itself, is to operate 360 daily flights during the summer schedule that started in the last week of March.

An Air India Express spokesperson said the airline is engaging with the cabin crew members to understand the reasons for reporting sick and also apologised for the flight disruptions.

Discontent has been brewing among a section of the cabin crew at the low-cost carrier for some time now, especially after the start of the merger process.

The sources on Wednesday told PTI that more than 200 cabin crew are believed to have reported sick to protest against the alleged mismanagement at the airline.

The cabin crew shortage has resulted in the cancellation of at least more than 80 flights since Tuesday night and scores of flights were delayed.

Flight disruptions are happening at various airports, including Kochi, Calicut and Bangalore, they added.

The sources also said there was chaos at some airports due to the sudden cancellation of flights, including to overseas destinations.

"A section of our cabin crew has reported sick at the last minute, starting last night, resulting in flight delays and cancellations.

"While we are engaging with the crew to understand the reasons behind these occurrences, our teams are actively addressing this issue to minimise any inconvenience caused to our guests as a result," the Air India Express spokesperson said in a statement.

Apologising to the customers for the "unexpected disruption", the spokesperson said those impacted by the cancellations will be offered a full refund or complimentary rescheduling to another date. Late last month, a union representing a section of the Air India Express cabin crew alleged that the airline is being mismanaged and there is a lack of equality in the treatment of the staff.

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

The development at Air India Express comes a month after Tata Group full-service carrier Vistara witnessed pilot woes, forcing it to temporarily cut down capacity by 10 per cent or 25-30 flights daily.

As part of consolidating its airline business, Tata Group is merging Air India Express and AIX Connect, as well as Vistara with Air India.

On Wednesday, many passengers took to social media complaining about the sudden cancellation of flights by Air India Express.

"Guests flying with us today are requested to check if their flight is affected, before heading to the airport," the airline spokesperson said.

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