According to the airline’s spokeperson, Air India Express has cancelled 85 flights amid network disruption today and the combined entity of Air India Express and AIX Connect (formerly AirAsia India) will operate 283 flights today.

Before the network disruption, the two airlines cumulatively operated around 380 flights, including 260 domestic and 120 international. The airline has requested travellers to check their flight status before heading to the airport.

If their flight is cancelled or delayed beyond three hours, they may opt for a full refund or reschedule to a later date without any fees on Tia on WhatsApp (+91 6360012345) or on airindiaexpress.com, the airline added.

Also Read: Air India Express fires 25 cabin crew members for not reporting to work; cancels 85 flights today

Here’s the full text of Air India’s termination letter sent to the cabin crew members who were on sick leave.

Air India termination letter to employees: FULL TEXT

ā€˜ā€™Subject: Termination of Employment Contract

This is in reference to your employment with Air India Express Limited (“Company”) in the capacity of Cabin Crew Executive. It has been reported that you were rostered for a flight on 07.05.2024. However, you informed the Scheduling team at the last moment that you were unwell and accordingly reporting sick.

It is noted that at or around the same time, an overwhelming number of other cabin crew members have also reported sick and have not reported for their duties. This clearly points to a pre-meditated and concerted abstention from work without any justifiable reason.

As a result of the above, a large number of flights had to be cancelled thereby disrupting the entire schedule, which caused tremendous inconvenience to the Company’s esteemed passengers. Your act is not only subversive of public interest, but has also caused embarrassment, severe reputational damage, and serious monetary loss to the company.

Your act of reporting sick for work amounts to a concerted action with a common understanding, to not operate the flight and to disrupt services of the Company. This is not only in violation of the applicable laws, but also violates the Air India Express Limited Employees’ Service Rules as are applicable to you.

Your above action also contravenes the following clauses of the revised terms and conditions of your employment contract, effective April 01, 2023:

ā€œ3.5 Roster and Flying Duties: You will be required to keep yourself available to undertake flying duties, standby duties or any other duties that may be assigned as per the roster prepared by the company…..” and

“3.15(g) Additional Undertakings: At all times during the Term, you also undertake that you will maintain the highest standard of work ethic, character, and conduct.”

In view of the above, the company has decided to terminate your employment with immediate effect on and from the date of this letter, and accordingly: (i) you will no longer be considered an employee of the company, and the company will no longer have any obligations to you as an employer; (ii) you will no longer have access to any official emails, servers, other communication, any and all information relating to the company; and (iii) you and/or your dependents shall not be eligible for any employee- related benefits provided by the company.”

Also Read: Watch: Chaos at Delhi Airport after Air India Express cancels 70 flights; check why air travel is affected

What went wrong?

On May 8, Air India Express announced a 20 per cent reduction in its flight network over the next few days to stabilise operations after a major section of the cabin crew went on mass sick leave, causing significant disruptions.

The mass leave is believed to result from grievances related to the ongoing merger with AIX Connect, formerly AirAsia India. Air India Express was acquired by the Tata Group in 2022, along with Air India, in a government-led strategic divestment programme. The airline is in the middle of integrating with AIX Connect.

Simultaneously, there is also a transformation taking place within the Air India group, which will bring a more domestic focus for Air India Express and a global international approach for the merged entity of Air India and Vistara. Merger issues are not new for Tata Group-backed airlines. Last month, Vistara had to cancel several flights due to a severe shortage of pilots.

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Published: 09 May 2024, 06:33 PM IST

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