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Air India Express clears cabin crew issues; focuses on fleet expansion

Updated on: 17 June,2024 07:10 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Prasun Choudhari |

Integration challenges ahead as airline prepares to surpass 100 aircraft by the end of 2024

Air India Express clears cabin crew issues; focuses on fleet expansion

Recently, the Chandigarh unit of NCLT granted merger approval. Representation Pic

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Air India Express clears cabin crew issues; focuses on fleet expansion

Just days after the Air India Express Employee Union (AIXEU) criticised the airline for issuing a charge sheet to protesting cabin crew members, the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Air India Express said that the airline has fully sorted out the concerns of cabin crew members. At the Aviation India 2024 event, he discussed the issues of cabin crew members, along with the expansion plans of the airline.

Concerns resolved

Ankur Garg is the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Air India Express. He said, “The cabin crew issues are now fully resolved.” In early May, Air India Express was forced to cancel more than 150 flights because of a planned mass sick leave by a section of its cabin crew members. Garg said, “When an airline grows its capacity rapidly, there is some amount of pressure on the staff members. A very small section of cabin crew members went on strike. Out of the 45 base stations the airline operates from, disruptions were caused majorly at two of them.”

“The planned strike coincided with the unorganised transition from ARMS to the CAE crew rostering system. As a result of which, the airline lost the data of its pilots and cabin crew members. Because of this, even when all the protesting crew members returned to duty, the disruptions continued,” he added. Garg also said that these two problems made the whole matter complicated. Now, airline operations have been normalised. Operations are expected to remain stabilised from now on.

Increased fleet

“Since its privatisation, Air India Express has added a fleet of 22 Boeing 737 MAX jets, which were previously destined for Chinese carriers. It is looking to add another 24 aircraft within the next six months. With this, the entire fleet of AIX Connect and Air India Express will cross 100 aircraft by the end of 2024,” said sources from Air India Express.

Recently, the Chandigarh unit of NCLT granted merger approval to both AIX Connect and Air India Express. The tribunal has asked both airlines to conclude the merger process within nine months of filing the plea. AIX Connect will be fully dissolved into Air India Express. Following this approval, both airlines can transfer their assets and staff members to each other.

Garg said, “The integration of staff members is an easy process. However, when it comes to implementing system changes, expanding aircraft operations, and integrating the Human Resources of both airlines, there will be challenges.”

Garg added, “Air India Express is adjusting its schedules according to the long-haul international flights of Air India. The LCC subsidiary is adjusting the timings of busy corporate routes to provide seamless connections to Air India’s international flights originating from Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru, the three hubs of Air India.”

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