Reasons for IndiGo’s departure delays still unclear

Abhishek Law | | Updated on: Jul 04, 2022

| Photo Credit: ARUN SANKAR

AI denies having scheduled interviews on Saturday

The operations of IndiGo were hit on Saturday, with 55 per cent of its flights running late, while on Sunday, a cascading effect saw 30 per cent of flights departing later than the scheduled time. The hit was attributed to non-availability of hundreds of cabin crew who reported sick on Saturday. India’s aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, has already sought an explanation from IndiGo on the cause for delays.

The airline has not gone on-record with the exact reasons or the number of cabin crew members that reported sick. It has 1600 daily departures and has 58 per cent market share (58 out of every 100.domestic fliers took an IndiGo flight).

Aviation sources say cabin crew had gone for job interviews with another airline in centres such as Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. On the other hand, aviation industry officials say the IndiGo cabin crew had gone on mass leave, expressing their unhappiness over Covid-time pay cuts that continue to be in force even now.

Cabin crew can report absent five hours before departure of flights.

IndiGo did not respond to questions by BusinessLine.

No scheduled interviews

Sources in Air India, whose name cropped up in reports, denied scheduling any interviews on Saturday. Its second round of job interviews were carried out on Thursday and Friday in Mumbai, say officials, while the next set is scheduled on July 7 in Bengaluru.

“Air India interviews have mostly been by invitation and are not walk-in. Moreover, there was no such issue when the first round of interviews were held,” sources in the airline said.

Aviation observers say IndiGo employees have been unhappy with the deep pay cuts imposed during the pandemic. Some say these have not been restored and continue today, even though many of the Covid-related restrictions on airlines have been withdrawal and there is a revival in demand for air travel.

In April, pilots went on mass sick leave and the airlines reacted by suspending some for “violating terms of employment and company”.

IndiGo was India’s only profitable airline before the pandemic.

The company’s CEO, Ronojoy Dutta, during a recent analyst call said,the sector is going through inflationary environment, after going through “a very difficult period” that first included pay cuts and then “not full restoration of pay”.

“We know we have to address this issue..... We do have a big loss. So we have to manage this very carefully. We want to do the right thing for them, we’d love to give them more pay raises... but our head has to work in terms of, let’s be profitable,” he had said.

Published on July 04, 2022
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