The government-owned Air India has recently taken off 57 crew members from flying temporarily and put them on ground duty for being overweight.
According to Air India sources, the cabin crew have been asked to “shape up” within a given timeframe, and if that is not ensured, then the crew would be grounded permanently.
The national carrier has more than 3,800 cabin crew members and over 2,500 are women. As many as 2,200 of these members are on Air India’s permanent rolls.
As per the regulations set by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, designated doctors — through periodical medical checks — need to declare the cabin crew ‘temporary unfit’ or ‘permanent unfit’
According to a source quoted by PTI, “These cabin crew members were found overweight during the periodic review and told to get fit for flying within a particular time frame. However, as they failed to do so in the stipulated time, they have been taken off from flying duties last month and given ground jobs.”
Air India has taken such a stringent step for the second time in the last one-and-half-years to keep the weight of its crew members in check. In September 2015, the national carrier had barred 125 cabin crew members from flying after they were unable to adhere to the DGCA norms.
The norms suggest a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18-25 for a male crew member and for a female member, it is 18-22. A male crew member is considered to be overweight when the BMI is between 25-29.9 and obese when it is above 30. As for women, a BMI of 22-27 is considered to be overweight and above 27 is obese.
Overweight Cabin Crew members are usually given three months to reduce their weight. Cabin crew with the temporarily unfit tag are allowed to fly for up to 19 months. But during this time, if they fail to comply with the required BMI, they are declared permanently unfit.