The rupee crossing 60 has had several victims. Holidays abroad, studying overseas, destination weddings and investments abroad have all been impacted. But little did we know that the rupee fall could impact male cabin crew too!
According to a report in the Times of India, GoAir's all future cabin crew recruitment will only be women because males weigh more than female attendants, which increases the airline's operating costs. And since women are 15-20 kg lighter than males, the airline gets Rs 3 crore of fuel saved annually!
"GoAir currently has 330 cabin crew members, 40% of whom are males. Every additional kg on board costs Rs 3 per flight hour. With an airhostess weighing about 15-20kg less than a male flight purser, Go expects to save about Rs 2.5 crore to Rs 3 crore annually," the Times of India report said.
For airline, the rupee's slide comes as another blow at a time when the industry is grappling with high operating cost which has already compressed margins. Domestic airlines have already cut fares by as much as 15% on some routes hoping to boost passenger traffic in the traditionally lean June-September monsoon season. Add to that the rupee fall and all operational expenses which are linked to the dollar like aircraft leasing, spare parts, expat salaries and fuel cost are bound to rise.
For smaller carriers like Indigo and SpiceJet and GoAir, the rupee impact may be even deeper as their international revenues are limited and other dollar-denominated expenses remain higher and hence there is no way operators can minimise impact.
No wonder, GoaAir is taking such drastic measures. While the airline will retain its current 130-odd male flight attendants, all future plans to induct 2000 more cabin crew will only be for airhostesses.
And with weight reduction as top priority to reduce fuel burn, GoAir has also reduced the size of the inflight magazine, while the potable water tanks will no longer be filled to capacity.
Will the airline start charging over weight passengers too to meet that extra expense?
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