Air India has decided to do away with non-vegetarian meals in domestic economy class, according to media reports. Economy passengers on international flights will, however, get non-vegetarian meals.
The move is aimed at a cutting costs of the airline, which has an accumulated loss of Rs 50,000 crore, the reports said.
“We have decided to serve vegetarian meals in our economy-class seats on domestic flights,” Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani has been quoted as saying in a report in The Hindu.
Another spokesperson of the company has told The Times of India that the decision has been a conscious one and it is aimed at reducing wastage and improving catering service, apart from cutting costs.
Another reason cited is it will avoid mix-ups, wherein a vegetarian gets served a non-vegetarian meal. This has happened a few times earlier, says The Hindu report.
Indianexpress.com reports that though the decision was taken in December last year, the implementation took time due to lack of consensus.
Whatever the reasons given by the airline, there is surprise and outrage over the airline's decision. It has to be noted that the decision comes at at time when vegetarianism is being forced down upon Indians by the government. There is also pressure to ban beef across the country.
It is also likely to be a bad business decision for Air India, a company which does not have the best reputation when it comes to onboard services.
Mahesh Y Reddy, secretary-general of Air Passengers Association of India, has pointed out to The Hindu that even low-cost carriers give passengers food options.
"Air India should have conducted a passenger survey before taking this drastic step, and it should immediately withdraw the decision," he has told the newspaper.
There is outrage on Twitter too.
Only veg food on Air India.
Next, flight attendants to speak only Hindi.
After that, stand for national anthem before flight take-off. #BMKJ
— Madhu Menon (@madmanweb) July 10, 2017
So Maharaja also got scared of lynching. #AirIndia
— Scarecrow (@make_itpossible) July 10, 2017
Only Veg food on Air India Flights? Will miss the lizards & cockroaches. — Trendulkar (@Trendulkar) July 10, 2017
Updated Date: Jul 10, 2017 14:02 PM