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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Air India Express Hit by Crew ‘Mass Sick Leave’: 86 Flights Cancelled

According to government sources, at least 86 Air India Express flights were cancelled when cabin staff members went on “mass sick leave” on Wednesday. The international and domestic flights were cancelled after around 300 senior cabin crew members reported being unwell at the last minute and turned off their mobile phones.

Air India Express management is now attempting to contact the crew, who are protesting the new job terms at the Tata Group-owned airline, according to reports.

“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,” an Air India Express spokesperson said.

“We sincerely apologise to our guests for this unexpected disruption and emphasise that this situation does not reflect the standard of service we strive to provide,” the spokesperson added.

Guests impacted by cancellations will be offered a full refund or complimentary rescheduling to another date, the airline said.

Several passengers took to their social media accounts and complained about the sudden cancellations of their flights. They said that they had “no information” about the cancellations.

Some “very disappointed” passengers on X said that they had reached the airport when they were informed that their flights were cancelled.

“We apologise for any inconvenience. Please be informed that your flight has been cancelled due to operational reasons,” Air India Express said in response to one of the posts on X.

Why Air India Express Crew Is Protesting

According to sources, the crew at the Air India Express has alleged that there was a lack of equality in the treatment of the staff after the merger with Tata Group.

They claim that some staff members were offered lower job positions despite clearing interviews.

The crew has also alleged that the key parts of the compensation package have been modified or removed and that the airline management is shutting down the dissenting voices, sources said.

The airline is currently also in the process of merging AIX Connect (formerly AirAsia India) with itself.

The crisis at Air India Express comes a month after Tata Group full-service carrier Vistara witnessed cancellations due to pilot woes.

Discontentment had simmered among pilots at Vistara, which is in the process of getting merged with Air India, following the new contracts wherein there were concerns on rosters for pilots operating flights and a component of their salary packages.

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