Air India Express is canceling 40 daily flights until May 13, other airlines may require passengers to pay more

NEW DELHI: Troubles with Tata Group's airline merger continue unabated. Budget Air India Express, which operates 350 to 400 flights daily, of which over 250 are domestic and 120 international, is canceling around 40 daily flights until May 13 for the time being.

In a repeat of last month's problems at full-service operator Vistara, which is merging with Air India, more than 300 AI Express cabin crew members called in sick as of Tuesday afternoon, forcing the cancellation of more than 90 flights by Wednesday evening. The airline began sending termination letters Wednesday to crew who called in sick.


With aircraft utilization now at over 80%, around 13,000 passengers were affected by the cancellations.

The airline has asked passengers scheduled to fly on Wednesday to “check whether their flight is affected before making their way to the airport”. “The situation is dynamic with senior flight attendants calling in sick at the last minute just before they are scheduled to operate flights. While we are proactively canceling flights through next Monday, the actual number may vary depending on crew participation. We are minimizing international disruption and less than 20% of cancellations will affect our overseas flights,” airline sources said.

“Guests can visit the Flight Status section of our website for real-time information. If their flight is canceled or delayed for more than three hours, they can opt for a full refund or reschedule for a later date without incurring any charges on Tia WhatsApp (+91 6360012345) or on,” said a Speaker.

AI Express cancellations in mid-summer are bound to impact travelers as capacity is already limited – over 75 IndiGo aircraft are grounded due to defective Pratt & Whitney engines, GoAir has suspended operations, SpiceJet is operating only a few flights and the Deliveries of new aircraft are taking place from Airbus and the crisis-hit Boeing were slower than expected.

While Air India Express is offering “a full refund or a free rebooking”, affected passengers may have to buy last-minute tickets from other airlines at extremely high spot prices, especially on weekends.

The aviation ministry has asked the airline to submit a report on the mass cancellation and “immediately resolve issues”. “The airline has been advised to provide facilities to passengers as per DGCA norms,” a senior ministry official said. The airline said its “teams are trying to minimize inconvenience to our guests.” However, passenger complaints are increasing on social media.

Sybil Alvarez

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