Air India Express Cancels Flights as Cabin Crew Goes on ‘Mass Sick Leave’ Over Employment Terms

Air India Express Cancels Flights as Cabin Crew Goes on 'Mass Sick Leave' Over Employment Terms

At least 86 Air India Express flights were canceled due to a “mass sick leave” by cabin crew members, according to official sources on Wednesday. The cancellations affected both international and domestic flights, as approximately 300 senior cabin crew members reported sick at the last minute and turned off their mobile phones.

The Air India Express management is currently attempting to contact the protesting crew members, who are objecting to the new employment terms at the Tata Group-owned airline.

“A section of our cabin crew has reported sick at the last minute, starting last night, resulting in flight delays and cancellations. 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,” said an Air India Express spokesperson.

“We sincerely apologize to our guests for this unexpected disruption and emphasize that this situation does not reflect the standard of service we strive to provide,” the spokesperson added.

Guests affected by cancellations will be offered a full refund or complimentary rescheduling to another date, the airline stated.

Many passengers took to social media to express their frustration with the sudden flight cancellations, stating that they had received “no information” about the changes.

A passenger expressed being “very disappointed” after reaching the airport only to find out that their flight was canceled.

“We apologize for any inconvenience. Please be informed that your flight has been canceled due to operational reasons,” Air India Express replied to his post.

According to sources, the crew at Air India Express, a subsidiary of Air India, alleges a lack of equality in treatment of staff following the merger with Tata Group. They claim that some staff members were offered lower job positions despite clearing interviews.

The crew also alleges that key parts of the compensation package have been modified or removed and that the airline management is suppressing dissenting voices, sources said.

The airline is currently in the process of merging AIX Connect (formerly AirAsia India) with itself.

The crisis at Air India Express comes a month after Tata Group full-service carrier Vistara experienced cancellations due to pilot issues. Discontent among pilots at Vistara, which is merging with Air India, arose from new contracts raising concerns about flight rosters and components of their salary packages.

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Pooja Chauhan

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