Air India flight delays evoke concern in Rajya Sabha

Delays in Air India flights due to lack of crew and trained staff on Thursday evoked concern in the Rajya Sabha, with a member claiming that the airline was operating planes for which its crew was not trained.

New Delhi: Delays in Air India flights due to lack of crew and trained staff on Thursday evoked concern in the Rajya Sabha, with a member claiming that the airline was operating planes for which its crew was not trained.

Raising the issue of Air India's "apathy", Vivek Gupta of Trinamool Congress said the crew in the national carrier was being "forced" to operate aircraft in which they are not trained.

Taking note of it, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien said the government should listen to this, though he felt this "may not be true and should not be true".

The TMC member said in his Zero Hour mention that he wanted to draw the government's attention to a recent instance when untrained people were sent to check spare-parts condition in an aircraft.

Terming it as "very serious", he claimed that "spare parts training is required to operate a particular aircraft. People were not trained and yet they had gone to the aircraft and then were trying to certify it. However, there was timely intervention by the Airports Authority."

Responding to this, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government would act if members cited any specific case.

Ruing that "lakhs" of Air India passengers of Air India have suffered as "70 percent" of its flights were cancelled in January and February this year, Gupta said "even if they know that a flight is going to be delayed for three hours, they (staff) are not informing us. The principal reason behind this is they have shortage of crew."

He said the shortage of crew was something that Air India knew for one and half years but no steps were taken to address the issue and undertake recruitment.

"50 pilots have resigned in the past few months and another 50 pilots are serving the notice period. Today there is a news that not a single person turned up for the walk-in interview to recruit Air India pilots. The HR Manager was arrested last week for recruitment scam.

"There is no response coming from the Air India management as to what they are doing to fill up these vacancies," he said.

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