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Delhi Airport In Major Trouble: Air India Cancels 70 Flights

Air India cancels 70 flights— a rather very strange circumstance to have arisen on Wednesday, both domestic and international after a significant number of senior crew members called in sick without prior notice. This unforeseen action has led to significant disruptions at major airports throughout India, causing frustration among passengers and triggering an inquiry by the Union Civil Aviation Ministry. The crew calling in sick, involving over 200 cabin crew members, started on Tuesday night and extended into Wednesday, causing widespread delays and flight cancellations.

The mass sick leave coincides with the time when Air India Express is already undergoing restructuring with the Tata Group. Sources within the airline indicate that dissatisfaction among the crew regarding recent alterations to performance-based incentives and other restructuring measures may have sparked the protest. In response, the Civil Aviation Ministry has requested a detailed report from Air India Express on the matter and urged the airline to quickly tackle the root causes to prevent future disruptions.

Air India Express issued a statement acknowledging the inconvenience and apologized to affected passengers, offering full refunds or complimentary rescheduling. The airline’s spokesperson highlighted that the company is in discussions with the crew to understand the reasons for the abrupt sick leave and is taking steps to resolve the issue swiftly. Nonetheless, this reassurance did little to pacify the frustrated passengers, as many were left stranded at airports like Delhi and Kozhikode.

At Kozhikode airport, a total of 12 flights were cancelled, resulting in heated confrontations between passengers and airline personnel. Former Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, whose flight from Delhi to Srinagar was among the cancelled ones, criticized the airline for failing to notify passengers ahead of time, stating that this is the outcome of a lack of pre-notified communication that now has caused considerable inconvenience. These sentiments were mirrored by social media users, with some calling for better communication and others proposing that airlines should offer alternative travel options when flight cancellations occur.

The incident also raised concerns about the operational challenges faced by the airline industry, particularly in the wake of restructuring and mergers. Air India cancels 70 flights which mirrors a similar incident with Vistara on April 1, when more than 100 flights were impacted because pilots called in sick.

The Civil Aviation Ministry has instructed Air India Express to ensure that passengers are provided with adequate facilities during these disruptions, following the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) standards. This event has highlighted the need for effective communication and management practices in the airline industry to maintain passenger confidence and minimize all the chaos.

As the investigation progresses, the emphasis will be on how quickly Air India Express can resolve the grievances of the crew and return to normal operations. The findings from the Civil Aviation Ministry’s report will play an important role in shaping the measures to avoid similar incidents in the future, with the ultimate goal of maintaining passenger convenience and safety.

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