Cracking the whip on its over-weight cabin staff, the Indian government-owned Air India has temporarily taken off 57 crew members from flying and put them on ground duty.
These cabin crew members, including air hostesses, have been told to "shape up" within a stipulated time frame, failing which they would be grounded permanently, Air India sources said.
Air India has over 3,800 cabin crew members, of whom more than 2,500 are women. Out of the total cabin crew strength, around 2,200 members are on permanent rolls.
As per norms of aviation regulator DGCA, the cabin crew has to be declared as 'fit', 'temporary unfit' and 'permanent unfit' by designated doctors through their periodic medical examination.
"These cabin crew members were found over-weight during the periodic review and told to get fit for flying in a particular time frame. However, as they failed to do so in the stipulated time, they have been taken off from flying duties last month and given ground jobs," a source said.
This is the second time in last over a year-and-half that the national carrier has taken such an action against its bulky cabin crew members as in September 2015 also, it had taken off 125 such employees from flying duty after they failed to maintain weight as per the mandatory norms.
As per the DGCA's regulations, a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18-25 is normal for a male cabin crew, while for a female it is 18-22. A BMI of 25-29.9 for male crew is considered overweight and 30 and above is obese, while for females BMI of 22-27 is overweight and 27 and above obese.
The BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women.
As per the norms, a cabin crew member found overweight is deemed temporarily unfit and given three months to reduce weight. A cabin crew can continue with flying duty for up to 19 months with the temporarily unfit tag, but if he or she fails to reduce weight to meet the required BMI during this period, he or she will be deemed permanently unfit.