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Air India Express sacks 30 cabin crew after mass sick leave disrupts flight operations
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Air India Express sacks 30 cabin crew after mass sick leave disrupts flight operations

| @indiablooms | 09 May 2024, 10:43 am

New Delhi/IBNS: India's premier airline Air India Express has sacked 30 cabin crew after a mass sick leave disrupted the flight operations over the last few days, media reports said.

The airline management has ordered the employees to join work by 4 pm on Thursday to avoid facing any action.

The number of job sacking is expected to go higher.

Since Tuesday night, the airline has cancelled over 90 flights after 300 senior cabin crew members reported sick at the last minute and then turned off their cellphones.

Hundreds of passengers were left stranded owing to the sudden turn of events.

The Air India Express Employees Union also wrote to the management and "highlighted a stark departure from commitments".

With no resolution over the "mass leave" crisis, Air India Express CEO Aloke Singh had written to employees informing them that the number of flights being operated will be reduced over the next few days.

"The disruptions have cascaded across the network, forcing us to curtail the schedules over the next few days. We had to do this to cope with the non-availability of crew and to recover schedules.

"This act is certainly not representative of the 2,000-odd cabin crew colleagues in the company who continue to respond to the call of duty and serve our guests with dedication and pride. I am thankful to all who are standing by the airline in this hour of crisis," the CEO wrote.

Expressing his gratitude to employees from other departments who have pitched in to assist in the operations sphere, Singh said the management is available to address concerns at both group and individual levels.

"We are on a journey towards growth and transformation, which will make us one the largest airlines in the region. Enough professional growth opportunities are there for all... Hope to see things get resolved soon," he wrote.

Singh's letter was followed by a post on an internal forum by a senior crew member of Air India Express, who said that the well-being of employees should be the priority.

"I appreciate your (Mr Singh's) message, and I want to express my concerns respectfully. In times when our colleagues are unwell, it's crucial to prioritise their well-being. Understanding their health conditions should be our foremost concern rather than any other agenda," the crew member said.

"It's disheartening to learn about the number of employees falling ill simultaneously, which has indeed disrupted our operations. However, attributing this solely to incompetence overlooks the dedication and honesty with which our crew have served our guests until now. You mentioned departmental town hall meetings, but it feels more like a one-way communication channel. I urge you to genuinely listen to our colleagues' concerns," the post read.

Statement from Air India Express

Meanwhile, an Air India Express spokesperson in a statement said: “Air India Express is making every possible effort to minimise the inconvenience caused to our guests by this unexpected situation. We will be operating 283 flights today. We have mobilised all resources and Air India will support us by operating on 20 of our routes."

"However, 85 of our flights stand cancelled and we urge our guests booked to fly with us to check if their flight is affected by the disruption before heading to the airport. If their flight is cancelled, or delayed beyond 3 hours, they may opt for a full refund or reschedule to a later date without any fees on Tia on WhatsApp (+91 6360012345) or on"

"While we will continue to engage with our cabin crew colleagues with a commitment to address any concern, we are taking appropriate steps against certain individuals as their actions have caused grave inconvenience to thousands of our guests," the statement said. 

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