For the second time in a month, passengers of Air India were stranded as a flight to Singapore was delayed by 24 hours due to shortage of pilots, causing confusion at the Mumbai airport, in the early hours of Wednesday. The flight, which was originally scheduled to take off at 12.05 am on Wednesday, was going to fly about 260 passengers. An Air India spokesperson said the flight will now take off at the same time on Thursday.
“The flight, AI-342 from Mumbai to Singapore has been delayed due to crew constraints. The passengers booked on the flight have been provided with accommodation,” the spokesperson said.
Last month, an Air India flight from Mumbai to Riyadh was delayed by over 20 hours due to staff crunch.The national carrier is facing an acute shortage of commanders as most have left the cash-strapped airline. “Training has come to a standstill as there are no skilled pilots. There were about five senior pilots who were sacked during the agitation last year and have been trying to return to the company for some time now, but there has not been any response from the management,” an Air India pilot said on conditions of anonymity.
Another Air India pilot, who did not want to be named, said the condition is likely to worsen as there are about 35 to 40 pilots who have applied to Gulf carriers and received offers.
“People are in a wait-and-watch mode. We have not been receiving our flying allowances, which constitute 80 percent of our salaries, since June, and there are feelers that there could be a salary cut now,” he added.