Active Stocks
Thu Jun 20 2024 10:44:27
  1. Tata Steel share price
  2. 181.80 0.97%
  1. HDFC Bank share price
  2. 1,660.80 0.17%
  1. ITC share price
  2. 424.20 0.12%
  1. Tata Motors share price
  2. 982.75 0.55%
  1. Power Grid Corporation Of India share price
  2. 323.25 -1.31%
Business News/ Companies / News/  Air India Express cuts daily flights as mass sick leave hits operations
BackBack

Air India Express cuts daily flights as mass sick leave hits operations

The Tata Group-backed airline will reduce its daily flight count by 48 flights. Currently, the airline operates around 240 daily domestic and international flights.

Air India Express was acquired by the Tata Group, along with Air India, in a government-led strategic divestment programme in January 2022. (Photo: Reuters)Premium
Air India Express was acquired by the Tata Group, along with Air India, in a government-led strategic divestment programme in January 2022. (Photo: Reuters)

NEW DELHI:Air India Express will reduce its flight network by 20% over the next few days to stabilize operations after a section of cabin crew went on mass sick leave, causing significant disruptions. 

The mass leave is believed to be a result of grievances related to the ongoing merger with AIX Connect, formerly AirAsia India.

“If there are concerns that need to be addressed, the company leadership is available for any discussions. All communication channels remain open - departmental townhalls, monthly all-hands townhall, besides formal and informal reach out to leaders," said Air India Express chief executive Aloke Singh in a note to employees. 

A townhall is scheduled for Thursday.

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

Mass leaves

Over 100 cabin crew members, mostly senior, have reported mass sick leave since the evening of 7 May, resulting in more than 90 flight cancellations. 

As a result, the Tata Group-backed airline will reduce its daily flight count by 48 flights. Currently, the airline operates around 240 daily domestic and international flights.

The company, which employs around 2,000 cabin crew members, has asked the staff to reach out to the airline to discuss their grievances related to the merger.

Read This: Folding four airlines into two is a tough task even for Tatas

Officials familiar with the matter have indicated that the senior cabin crew's concerns revolve around changes in their roles and the cultural shift towards a more corporate environment, akin to that of AIX Connect. This transformation is a departure from Air India Express's previous international-only focus.

Air India Express was acquired by the Tata Group, along with Air India, in a government-led strategic divestment programme in January 2022.

The airline is in the middle of integrating with AIX Connect. Simultaneously, there is also a transformation taking place within the Air India group, which will bring a more domestic focus for Air India Express and a more international approach for the merged entity of Air India and Vistara.

Merger issues are not new for Tata Group-backed airlines. Last month, Vistara had to cancel several flights due to a shortage of pilots.

Government intervention

The civil aviation ministry has called for a report from Air India Express regarding the cancellation of flights and has asked them to resolve issues promptly.

The airline has also been advised to ensure proper facilities for passengers as per Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) norms. Additionally, airport operators have been asked to provide proactive assistance to affected passengers during flight cancellations or delays.

As per data from DGCA, AIX Connect has a 5.8% stake in the domestic aviation market, and, independently, Air India Express is the third largest Indian carrier for the international traffic to and from India.

For October-December 2023, the airline held a stake of 7.1% and carried 1.2 million passengers. While it is a major carrier for the West Asia market, it is also expected to expand its network under the broader group synergy exercise with its parent company Air India.

Future plans

The company currently has a fleet size of 73 aircraft including 28 Airbus A320. It is set to increase the fleet substantially over the next one year as the airline plans to induct at least 50 out of the 190-Boeing 737 MAX aircraft that Air India ordered in February 2023.

Under a planned delivery programme, the airline is inducting an aircraft every 10 days and expects to complete the induction of 50 aircraft by the end of 2024 and a total fleet size of 180 aircraft by the end of five years.

The Tata Group-backed airline, which plans to double its market share in domestic and short-haul international air travel segments over five years, will increase its frequencies to international and domestic destinations such as Abu Dhabi, Dammam, Jeddah, Sharjah, Ayodhya, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kannur, Kolkata, Kochi, Mangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, and Varanasi.

Also Read: The silent rise of Indian airlines in overseas routes

3.6 Crore Indians visited in a single day choosing us as India's undisputed platform for General Election Results. Explore the latest updates here!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anu Sharma
Anu Sharma is an Assistant Editor with Mint. She is based out of New Delhi and primarily writes on aviation. She has a wide-ranging experience across media such as news wire, television and website. She has worked closely on the infrastructure space in the past. An alumnus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication, her previous stints include Economic Times online, Cogencis news wire and CNBC-TV18 news channel.
Catch all the Corporate news and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
More Less
Published: 08 May 2024, 08:40 PM IST
Next Story footLogo
Recommended For You