More than half of the flights operated by IndiGo, India’s largest airline, were delayed on Saturday as a large number of its cabin crew members called in sick. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has taken a note of this development, and has sought a report from the airline on the delays, officials said.
Notably, Saturday also marked the beginning of the second phase of Tata Group-owned Air India’s recruitment drive for cabin crew members.
According to information sourced from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, IndiGo’s on-time performance on Saturday was 45.2 per cent, meaning less than half of its flights departed within 15 minutes of their scheduled departure time. IndiGo operates 1,600 domestic and international flights daily.
IndiGo did not respond to requests for a comment.
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As per the DGCA’s monthly traffic reports, IndiGo’s average on-time performance for a month stays more than 80 per cent.
On Saturday, while IndiGo’s punctuality fell, that of other airlines remained around their previously reported numbers. For example, SpiceJet reported 80.4 per cent on-time performance, while GoFirst and AirAsia India reported 88 per cent and 92.3 per cent, respectively. Vistara and Air India reported 86.3 per cent and 77.1 per cent, respectively.
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Air India had conducted a similar crew recruitment drive last month as well but did not find enough recruits, according to sources, which led to the airline recalling some of the cabin crew members it laid off in 2020.
Airlines typically have cockpit and cabin crew members stationed at their major operating centres, and hire people from time to time depending on the growing demand for air travel. Currently, in addition to Air India — which is undergoing a transformation under its new owners — airlines such as Jet Airways 2.0 and Akasa are also recruiting employees.