Vistara: Top India airline to reduce flights amid protests by pilots

Vistara: Top India airline to reduce flights amid protests by pilots
A Vistara aircraft prepares to land at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in MumbaiGetty Images

A significant Indian airline is halting businesses this month as a result of frequent flight cancellations and delays as a result of pilot availability.

Since 31 March, Vistara has seen almost 150 flight delays and 200 flight delays.

According to reports in the media, pilots were forced to take a massive sick leave to rally changes following the firm’s merger with Air India.

Vistara claims to be looking into better work-life compromise for its aircraft.

A Vistara representative told the BBC that the airline was “scaling up its network partially” and that clients would be reimbursed for delayed flights.

According to The Hindu news, at conference on Wednesday, Vistara CEO Vinod Kannan apologised to planes for “taxing schedule” and sought their” help” in resolving problems.

Additionally, Mr. Kannan stated that in order to create a pilot cushion, flight cancellations may continue until the end of the month.

The Tata Group, which holds the majority stake in Vistara, bought debt- ridden Air India- formerly India’s national carrier- from the government for$ 2.2bn ( £1.8bn ) in 2021.

It is currently undergoing the consolidation of its flight company as it merges its different businesses.

Once the merger is complete, Vistara will make an investment of$ 250 million to acquire a 25.1 % stake in the combined entity through a joint venture between Tata Group and Singapore Airlines.

According to reports over the past few weeks, Vistara pilots have expressed dissatisfaction with the fresh pay structure and working hours.

After the consolidation, which is scheduled to be finished in the following year, pilots have also voiced concerns about unplanned staffing practices and concerns about their career prospects.

According to an Tv report, planes have been falling ill with increasing speed, “flying at the limits of the greatest work limitations”. This had raised questions about their safety and health.

A Vistara standard told the BBC that the airport acknowledged that its “rosters had been utilised to the max” and that it was working to alter the squad to help its aircraft achieve a “better work-life equilibrium.”

The airline, however, said there had been no significant rise in pilots reporting sick and attributed the delay in flights in March also to other factors such as “bird hits, planned maintenance, weather disruptions and congestion”.

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