Air India Express sacks at least 25 employees after mass sick leave

Some senior crew members allegedly switched off their mobile phones just before flight operations


  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram


File photo: AFP
File photo: AFP

Published: Thu 9 May 2024, 10:22 AM

Last updated: Thu 9 May 2024, 10:23 AM

Air India Express has terminated at least 25 cabin crew members, a day after hundreds of employees called in sick, leading to a massive disruption in flight operations.

Sources within the airline said the management on Wednesday sacked cabin crew members who took sick leave between Tuesday and Wednesday due to their "unprofessional behaviour".

The mass sick leave was considered a pre-meditated and concerted abstention from work without any justifiable reason, violating Air India Express Limited employee service rules, sources said. Some senior crew members allegedly switched off their mobile phones just before flight operations, citing health issues.

The decision to terminate the employees was made as their actions violated the conditions outlined in their employment contracts, leading to their immediate termination.

The mass sick leave had disrupted more than 95 flights of Air India Express between Tuesday evening and Wednesday, impacting over 10,000 passengers. Those bound for the UAE were also affected, leaving hundreds of expats stranded.

With the airline still tackling the repercussions, its CEO Aloke Singh announced plans to reduce flight operations in the coming days.

Singh said that since Tuesday evening, "over 100 of cabin crew colleagues have reported sick prior to their rostered flight duty, at the last minute, severely disrupting our operations. Because this action was mostly by colleagues assigned L1 role, the impact was disproportionate, disrupting 90+ flights, even though other colleagues reported for duty".

The behaviour of a few does not represent the dedication of the majority of the airline's cabin crew, he stressed.

"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," Singh said in a statement.

He invited staff for discussions to address any concerns they may have and assured that all communication channels are open.

The cancellations and delays prompted the Ministry of Civil Aviation to seek a detailed report from Air India Express. The ministry urged the airline to promptly resolve the issues and ensure that passengers are provided with facilities as per DGCA norms.

Sources within the ministry revealed that cancellations and delays began on Tuesday night, continuing into Wednesday morning, which led to flight operations being curtailed due to a sudden shortage of crew members.


More news from Business