Fifty-five per cent of IndiGo’s domestic flights were delayed on Saturday as a significant number of cabin crew members took sick leave, with sources in the industry saying they ostensibly went for an Air India recruitment drive. When asked about this, Arun Kumar, who heads the aviation regulator DGCA, told PTI on Sunday, We are looking into this. The phase-2 of Air India’s recruitment drive was conducted on Saturday and a majority of IndiGo’s cabin crew members who took sick leave went for it, the sources in the industry added.
IndiGo, India’s largest airline, currently operates approximately 1,600 flights –domestic and international — daily.IndiGo and Air India did not respond to PTI’s requests for statements on the matter. According to the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s website, 45.2 per cent of IndiGo’s domestic flights operated on time on Saturday. In comparison, the on-time performances of Air India, SpiceJet, Vistara, Go First and AirAsia India was 77.1 per cent, 80.4 per cent, 86.3 per cent, 88 per cent and 92.3 per cent, respectively, on Saturday.
IndiGo CEO Ronjoy Dutta had on April 8 told employees through an email that raising salaries is a difficult and thorny issue but the airline will constantly review and adjust wages based on its profitability and the competitive environment. IndiGo had on April 4 suspended a few pilots who were planning to organise a strike the next day to protest against the pay cuts that were implemented during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tata Group took control of Air India on January 27, after successfully winning the bid for the airline on October 8 last year. Air India plans to buy new planes and improve its services, and it recently started a recruitment drive for fresh cabin crew members.
Air India is “clearly reorganising” itself under the “able stewardship” of the Tata Group and wants to invest in new planes to regain international passenger market share, Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer of aircraft manufacturer Airbus, had said on June 19 in Doha. During the peak of the pandemic, Indigo had slashed the salaries of its pilots by as much as 30 per cent. On April 1 this year, the airline announced its decision to increase the salaries of pilots by 8 per cent. It said that another hike of 6.5 per cent will be implemented from November onwards in case there are no disruptions. However, a section of pilots remained unsatisfied and decided to organise a strike.