Here’s an interesting development from Vistara – a relatively new Indian domestic carrier formed from a joint venture between Singapore Airlines and local mega-corporation TATA. The airline has announced a major improvement in its recruitment practices in a bid to make it an equal opportunities employer – but the change might be one you wouldn’t expect.
For the first time, Vistara says it will allow male cabin crew to join the airline. The company made the announcement as the first batch of male flight attendants finished their training and took to the skies. Two more batches of male crew are already in training and will be used on “select” routes once they complete their training courses.
In a country which still grapples with outdated views of gender stereotypes, even Vistara’s employment policies seemed completely out of touch – especially given the fact that other Indian airlines have employed male cabin crew for many years. But Vistara claims it always intended to hire male crew – they were just waiting until the airline had grown large enough they say.
“As we expand and prepare for international operations, we are delighted to introduce our first male cabin crew on select flights starting today,” explained Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer at Vistara.
“We are an equal opportunity employer, and it has always been our intent to have male cabin crew once we reached a certain scale of operations where we could efficiently roster and deploy mixed crew.”
The new crew will go through what the airline calls a “rigorous” three-month safety and service training program. Vistara says it is has become the highest rated Indian airline on Tripadvisor, having only been in business for three years. The airline currently operates a fleet of 19 Airbus A320 aircraft and serves 22 destinations.
Last week, a passenger onboard a Vistara flight from Lucknow to Delhi was arrested after allegedly molesting a member of cabin crew. In a statement, the airline confirmed that a flight attendant had complained of being sexually harassed, saying it would not tolerate behaviour that compromised the “dignity” of its’ staff.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.