Air India’s Executive Director for In-flight Services Madhu C. Mathen said that airline crew deployed on outbound flights would be provided with low-calorie meals to remain fit and energetic.
In a note circulated among pilots and cabin crew, Air India said: “A special low-fat diet meal for crew has been worked out on a day-wise basis to provide a light and healthy meal with a home (Indian) touch.”
The airline informed that low-fat diets have been introduced initially on outbound domestic and international flights from New Delhi and Mumbai.
"All the dishes in the food menu are low on cholesterol and fat. This initiative will help our crew to remain healthy and fit," Indian daily The Economic Times quoted an Air India official as saying.
The low-fat diet menu has been introduced 18 days after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a "Fit India Movement".
From an economic perspective, the new diet is also being seen as a part of an overall cost-cutting exercise that the cash-strapped airline has initiated, the report said.
The airline has a debt burden of over $81 million (580 billion in Indian rupees) and servicing the loans is a major challenge, as the company is losing about $5.6 million annually (Rs. 40 billion).
Last month, Air India threatened to stop its flights to six Indian cities -- Kochi, Mohali, Pune, Ranchi, Patna and Visakhapatnam – after government-owned oil companies refused to supply aviation fuel to it until it had paid what it owed.
The airline has admitted that it won't be able to pay off all of its overdue debt without getting an equity infusion from the government. It has sought emergency funding of over $34 million to stay in the air.
The central government has said it is determined to privatise the national carrier. Last year, it had failed to sell a 76 percent stake in Air India due to lack of interest from bidders. Bidders said they found some of the terms of sale too stringent to accept.