Scores of cabin crew members of Air India Express have expressed concerns about the decision on room sharing during layovers, claiming that such a move poses various difficulties in getting uninterrupted rest before flight duty while the airline has said that room sharing is consistent with the market practice followed by many other carriers.

Besides, cabin crew members have expressed concerns about curtailment of service contracts of some members as well as about assessment process at the airline, according to sources.

Earlier, at profit-making Air India Express, which is in the process of merging loss-making AIX Connect (formerly AirAsia India) with itself, a cabin crew was given a room at a five-star or a four-star hotel at outstations. Now, one room is shared by two cabin crew members.

Currently, Air India Express and AIX Connect together have more than 5,500 employees and around 1,800 cabin crew members. The sources said that scores of cabin crew members have written to the airline management regarding room sharing practice and other issues.

As per an e-mail sent by a cabin crew member to senior officials of Air India Express, there are various difficulties in getting uninterrupted rest before operating a flight due to room sharing decision.

The e-mail has also claimed that contracts of many cabin crew members have been curtailed to one year from five years and that curtailment is creating an unpleasant work atmosphere.

In response to a detailed set of questions, including about the steps being taken by Air India Express to address the concerns, an airline spokesperson cited the ongoing integration of AIX Connect and aligning of the practices across the two carriers.

“As a part of the ongoing integration between AIX Connect ( formerly AirAsia India) and Air India Express, the policies and practices across the two entities are being aligned. This includes crew members sharing rooms on layovers. This is consistent with the market practice followed by many other airlines in India and the region,” the spokesperson told PTI.

Both airlines are owned by the Tata Group. Further, the spokesperson said the airline has a dedicated and open internal communication platforms and a culture that encourages and solicits opinions to better inform all decisions.

“Understandably, some crew members have expressed a differing view with regard to the standardisation of this consolidated policy. “We remain committed to listening to and engaging with all stakeholders on such matters in the course of our large-scale transformation and growth, which ultimately affords all our employees with much greater prospects and benefits, all things considered,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson also said the airline is actively incorporating industry best practices to ensure that employee benefits are in line with market standards.

The company has harmonised the structure, salaries, and benefits for cabin crew members at a group level, while also providing opportunities for them to increase their earnings through performance enhancements and customer satisfaction, the spokesperson added.

With respect to the decision on room sharing, some cabin crew members have also cited the recent incident in Udupi where a female cabin crew member of Air India Express and her three family members were killed by a male cabin crew member. The incident happened on November 12.

In the detailed questions, PTI mentioned about the incident and also the claim that the accused had shared a room with another cabin crew member and at that time also, the accused had created nuisance. There was no specific response from the airline.

On the incident, Air India Express, last week, said, “we are deeply saddened by this incident and are extending our full support to the bereaved relatives of the deceased. We will provide our due cooperation in the investigation. In light of this incident, we have derostered the accused with immediate effect”.

International budget carrier Air India Express and domestic low cost airline AIX Connect are owned by the Tata Group, which is in the process of consolidating its airline business.

Under the consolidation plan, Air India Express is merging AIX Connect with itself while full service carrier Vistara will be merged with Air India.

Earlier this month, Air India Express Employees Union (AIXEU) in a letter to civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia mentioned various grievances about the airline’s cabin crew members.

PN: Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by News4masses

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