Up to 130 crew members, most of them being women, are in danger of facing the axe in the coming days as the government refused to budge on the airline’s request.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation issued a notice in May 2014 asking the cabin crew regulating the weight of the cabin crew by meeting their Body Mass Index (BMI). However, scores of them fail to meet the standards even after the 18-month deadline. The crews have been asked to be categorized as “normal”, “overweight” and “obese”.
An anonymous source familiar with the matter has confirmed that they would either be placed as ground staff or will be politely asked to take up voluntary retirement.
The ministry has, however, thought to have turned down the requests from Air India to reconsider the decision saying the regulations are prescribed for sound technical reasons – which cannot be overturned.
When the initial proposal was announced in 2014, as many as 600 cabin crew members, both male and female, were found to be unfit for flying and asked to lose weight. The issue had again come up earlier soon after the deadline was passed. But the members who were found to be obese failed to adhere to the norms. Previously, the government insisted that this was not a case of body-shaming.