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More clarity at home: How Air India is trying to smarten up its crew to cut costs

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said a revival package for Air India would be announced soon.

ET Online|
Updated: Oct 04, 2018, 10.13 AM IST
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Air India has issued a string of directives to cut costs. Some of these are aimed at its employees who are generally seen to be pampered in their public-sector jobs.
After the latest 7.3% hike in jet fuel prices, India's debt-ridden national carrier Air India has issued a string of directives to cut costs. Some of these are aimed at smartening up its employees who are generally perceived to be pampered in their public-sector jobs.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said on Monday that the revival package for Air India would be announced soon. The revival is a four-pronged strategy, and one of them is to improve the quality and skills of the existing workforce.

In fact, Air India has taken several steps to increase employee efficiency. Below are a few of them that made news:

Turn up on time and stay in 3-star hotels
The latest directive says that cabin crew not turning up for flights on time will have to pay the transportation cost incurred by the airline on their office pick-up cab. Also, the airline will roster the late-comers for only domestic flights for a year, where they stand to lose their overseas flying allowance.

Fly from Delhi
Seeking to reduce costs, Air India has asked cabin crew personnel from other bases to relocate either permanently or temporarily to New Delhi if they want to fly wide-body planes, PTI reported. Most of Air India's B777/787 flights, particularly on long and ultra-long haul routes, are operated from the Delhi base. Air India has its bases in several cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad.

Behave while in uniform
In August, Air India warned its crew of disciplinary action for uploading "distasteful videos" on social media, PTI reported. The warning came after some crew members, clad in Air India uniforms, danced to foot-tapping numbers and posted those videos on social media. "It has been reported that several videos are being posted by cabin crew in uniform on YouTube, Music.Ly (Tic Toc, Facebook etc) which are not only in bad taste but also do not reflect well for the company," Air India said in a communication to all cabin crew members on August 21.

Shun luxury, share rooms
In June this year, Air India downgraded its flight attendants’ outstation accommodation in hotels from single occupancy to twin-sharing basis. From now on, not only will two cabin crew members share a room, but they will also have to stay in a three-star hotel, instead of a four- or a five-star one.

Don't upgrade relatives, friends
In March this year, pilots and crew members of Air India flights were asked to refrain from upgrading the seats of passengers from economy to higher classes after growing complaints of arbitrary favours and misuse of authority were received against the national carrier, according to an HT report. It said there were complaints by cabin crew that pilots often upgraded passengers who appeared to be their relatives or friends.
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