Air India’s problem with cabin crew scheduling began last month on Karva Chauth when a number of cabin crew members unexpectedly called in sick, said a source. “Most of them were those who had applied for leave, but were denied leave though AI has a surplus of crew,” said a source. “The AI inflight department would call up the crew and enquire about their health, only to find that many were willing to report to duty,” said the source.
But as the festive season progressed, so did the number of crew calling in sick on the day of their flight. “Then on November 2 and 3, about 230 crew members called in sick,” said the source. Among them were four members, all of them rostered for duty on Delhi-Mumbai flight AI-887. “The AI management decided to clamp down and issued show cause notice for termination to the four flight attendants,’’ said the source.
An AI spokesperson confirmed that termination letters were sent to the crew because on November 2 and 3 there was a sudden jump in the number of people who reported sick. “On November 2 and 3 each, a total of 238 crew members called in sick. On internal inquiry, we learnt most of them were those who had applied for leave earlier so we issued a letter asking them to report to duty on time failing which they would be terminated.” The spokesperson added that three of the terminated crew will be taken back. “The termination letters were served only because of the exceeding number of sick leaves on those two days,” the spokesperson added.