Following IndiGo's footsteps: Why Raju asked Air India to ground older air hostesses

To begin with, Air India has agreed to ground air hostesses 45 years and above though Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju wants the age to be lowered further to 35 years subsequently.

Sindhu Bhattacharya August 20, 2014 18:28:28 IST
Following IndiGo's footsteps: Why Raju asked Air India to ground older air hostesses

New Delhi: IndiGo is being used as a benchmark for getting Air India back to black. Sources in the Ministry of Civil Aviation said today that recent instructions to Air India on grounding older air hostesses and improving on-time performance were given after a careful study of these parameters at IndiGo. How is the age of air hostesses related to profitability?

Well, these sources pointed out that older cabin crew "get slower" and this affects aircraft turnaround (time taken to get aircraft ready for next flight). "We looked at IndiGo. They have young crew and their turnaround time is 25 minutes whereas for Air India, this gets done in 45 minutes. We need to lower the age of crew to be able to bring in efficiencies," these sources said.

They said Air India's on-time performance is also impacted because it has to use older crew and clear instructions have been given that if need be, young crew should be hired afresh. They did not provide an estimate of how many air hostesses were over-aged and will consequently will have to re-deployed in ground functions.

To begin with, Air India has agreed to ground air hostesses 45 years and above though Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju wants the age to be lowered further to 35 years subsequently.

Sources quoted earlier said younger crew and faster aircraft turnaround time also means the airline can improve its on-time performance. "IndiGo has over 90% OTP but Air India's is about 77-78%. This needs to go up to over 85% after changes are made in staffing".

Another dictat to Air India is to rationalise manpower by anywhere between 3,000-7000 people by transferring them to other aviation PSUs like Airports Authority of India. Sources said instead of the "more painful" VRS option, this would be better for employees. They said before proposing such transfers, the powerful Air India employee unions have been spoken to and they have agreed to the proposal.

Earlier this month, Minister Raju had issued a 26-point dictat to Air India and the parameters on crew age and rationalizing manpower form a part of these instructions. Raju has said his office should be informed if any Air India flight is delayed beyond half an hour; he has also sought details of route-wise profits of the airline. And urged AI officials to make more efforts to fill business and first class seats which often go empty, causing the airline significant revenue losses. Details of delays and how much profit or loss AI makes on each route will have to be submitted within the first week of each month, Raju has said.

Here are some things Raju has asked Air India to strictly follow:

*** 90% on time performance, no delays except for technical reasons

*** Regular route profitability analysis and market comparison studies

*** Maintain average cabin crew age on par with other airlines and deploy older cabin crew in ground operations

*** In-flight entertainment needs drastic overhaul

*** Business and First Class seats go empty in domestic as well as international flights. If discounts a few hours before the flight help fill these seats, they should be discounted. More efforts needed to sell these seats

*** Improve cabin cleanliness and hygiene

*** Strict inventory checks for spare parts and improving MRO services

*** Make sure aircraft are refuelled at stations where ATF is cheaper; standard of food served on board should be maintained

*** Quarterly financial performance reports should be submitted to the minister and quarterly reviews should be done by the Civil Aviation Secretary.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Historic Air India flight, manned by all-women cockpit crew, takes off from San Francisco for Bengaluru
India

Historic Air India flight, manned by all-women cockpit crew, takes off from San Francisco for Bengaluru

Air India has said this will be the longest commercial flight in the world to be operated by it or any other airline in India. AI176 will fly over the North Pole and take the Atlantic route to Bengaluru

IndiGo, Spicejet announce domestic sales with ticket prices as low as Rs 877
Business

IndiGo, Spicejet announce domestic sales with ticket prices as low as Rs 877

Both IndiGo and Spicejet have said that the sale that opened on 13 January, will remain in place till 17 January and will be valid for air travel from 1 April to 30 September.