Air India has suspended 17 of its cabin crew members including some senior air hostesses, pending enquiry, apparently for "delaying" several of the national carrier's international flights citing "inadequate" rest period.
The orders issued last Friday signed by an assistant general manager of the in-flight services, however, did not assign any reason for the suspension, sources said on Thursday.
"You are placed under suspension pending enquiry with immediate effect.... A detailed charge sheet will follow in terms of the provisions of the certified standing orders," the order issued on May 22 said.
Air India officials said that action was taken against these employees for "delaying" flights after citing "inadequate" rest period, but cabin crew sources claimed that these air hostesses were only "adhering" to regulations.
According to aviation regulator DGCA's rest period norms, "No air carrier may schedule a cabin crew to perform duty in an aeroplane for more than 11 hours of flight time during any 24 consecutive hours without a rest period.
"Before a cabin crew is detailed for an international flight, his or her rest period since the last flight shall not be less than 22 hours. The rest of 22 hours will be either at home base or at another station from where the international flight shall originate."
The flights which were allegedly delayed because of these 17 air-hostesses include services to Delhi from London, Milan and Rome as well as from Jeddah to Calicut and Kochi, sources said.
Flights to Rome, Milan and London from Delhi and vice versa are generally of nine to nine-and-a-half hours duration.
Services to Jeddah from Mumbai and south are of about five- hour duration.
"Air India deploys the cabin crew, who are on such flights, for a new flight citing another regulation. However, as per the DGCA, the 22-hour rest period norm cannot be over-ruled in any case," the sources claimed.