Air India Express cancels 203 flights to Gulf

Airline cites crew shortage and post-Ramadan lean season for changes.
Air india, NEWS, Aviation


A shortage of cabin crew is forcing Air India’s budget carrier, Air India Express, to suspend 203 flights between the sub-continent and the Gulf region, a senior official from the airline has warned.

Emirates 24/7 reported that the cancellations would last from next week until the end of October, and would affect flights to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Muscat and Kuwait.

"No passengers will be affected because of the cancellation," Abhay Pathak, regional head of Air India in the Gulf, told the website. “There is a rule that cabin crew should not exceed more than 1,000 hours of flying in a year. There is no way we will be able to meet this target unless we cancel some of the services."

Reports from India suggested that the cancellation had also been caused by the lean season following Ramadan holidays.

"Around 203 (73 from Kozhikode, 74 from Thiruvananthapuram and 56 from Kochi) flights stand cancelled. Some of these flights which originate from here, touch Kochi and then fly to the Middle East. Hence this is taken as two flights and hence the number looks so large," an IANS report claimed, quoting an airline spokesperson.

Pathak added that the flight numbers had been exaggerated, with the airline cancelling only one or two flights per destination.

He also indicated that new recruitment policies were under way and that personnel were currently being trained up to solve the cabin crew shortage.