Air India has sacked four flight attendants after an entire crew on one flight called in sick during a long festive period in the country. The airline has allegedly seen a huge spike in the number of cabin crew reporting sick with one anonymous source quoted by The Times of India claiming that over 230 crew members reported sick in just one day at the start of November.
According to the newspaper, sickness levels started rising in October and coincided with the Hindu festival of Karva Chauth. Not only were the numbers of crew reporting sick way above estimates for the time of year but a quick bit of detective work revealed that the majority of poorly flight attendants had actually been turned down for leave.
With flight schedules at risk, Air India apparently started to call some of the sick crew in an attempt to get to the bottom of what was going on. The source claims that many cabin crew were willing to go back to work when challenged by Air India’s in-flight department, which heightened suspicions still further.
Which is probably why Air India couldn’t believe it when all four members scheduled to work on an Airbus A320 operated flight between Dehli and Mumbai reported sick for duty.
An Air India spokesperson quoted by the newspaper confirmed that it had sent termination letters to a number of crew following an internal inquiry. However, some of those crew members will be taken back by the airline following a review.
In the past, the debt-ridden national carrier has threatened to sack cabin crew for being overweight. Earlier this year, the airline even introduced a range of low-calorie crew meals on domestic flights with the airline saying the initiative would help keep flight attendants and pilots fit and healthy.
Dehli has been under a carpet of “deadly smog” for several weeks now with the levels of dangerous particles in the air coming in at 10x the safe level. Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s chief minister Tweeted earlier this month that “pollution has reached unbearable levels,” with residents complaining of breathing problems and stinging eyes.