Sources reported that the case is more than just “bad weather”.
IndiGo airlines cancelled around 75 several flights over the weekend and at least 32 on Monday. The airline said the reason is network disruption due to the bad weather.
The airline released a statement and said, “Due to a severe hailstorm in North India on Friday, February 7, 2019, 11 IndiGo flights were diverted. Consequently, this disrupted operations across our network the following day. As part of recovering our schedule, positioning of the crew and aircraft had to be readjusted. As a result, a number of flights were cancelled. We regret the inconvenience caused to our customers.”
However, digging deeper, sources said that the weather was just a basic reason but the actual reason is a shortage of pilots in the airline.
IndiGo, which is expanding rapidly, has not been able to manage the required number of pilots to operate the flights. The airline is in desperate need of captains.
A source stated that six months ago IndiGo was operating flights with just 70% pilots and had a 30% shortage. As per the estimation, IndiGo at least needs 100 captains immediately to sort out the work and flight schedule.
With a fleet of over 200 aircrafts, the airline operates more than 1,300 daily flights with around 3,000 pilots. Bad weather occurs every year but why is the airline on a spree of flight cancellations this time around? February is not often known for peak weather changes. It is mostly during pre and post monsoon.
Most IndiGo pilots are flying over 100 hours on an average per month, with a minimal period of rest. The maximum flight duty time for a pilot in India is 125 hours per month, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
As a result of the extra flying, the pilots have complained of severe body and mental fatigue. The mental and physical performance of pilots is vital to a flight and fatigued pilots are at a risk at taking slower decisions in the cockpit risking several lives.
There was an instance where an IndiGo pilot saw his roster and resigned immediately, unwilling to work extra. Sources said many pilots have resigned as their bodies give up after a few months. Another time, a pilot who was on sick leave was asked if he can fly on that day.
One such crew member said, “I get paid well, but what’s the use of it. After so much fatigue I fall sick and use that extra money on medical bills.”
Source: India Today
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