Dozens of IndiGo flights cancelled amid pilot shortage

The airline cited network disruption caused by hailstorm that took place on February 7 as the reason for cancellation of flights.

Published: 12th February 2019 07:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th February 2019 07:44 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: After cancelling scores of flights over the weekend, India’s biggest air-carrier IndiGo cancelled at least 32 flights from Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad on Monday.

The airline cited network disruption caused by hailstorm that took place on February 7 as the reason for cancellation of flights.

“Due to a severe hailstorm in North India on Friday, 11 IndiGo flights were diverted. Consequently, this disrupted operations across our network the following day. As part of recovering our schedule, positioning of the crew and aircraft had to be readjusted. As a result, a number of flights were cancelled,” it said.

However, sources in the aviation industry as well as two IndiGo pilots said that acute shortage of pilots has led to several flights being cancelled by the airline.“The airline is facing shortage of commanders and pilots, and this is forcing the airline to cancel flights from across stations,” PTI reported, quoting sources.

IndiGo, which is expanding rapidly and has over 200 aircraft in its fleet, is facing difficulty to manage the required number of pilots to operate its flights. An IndiGo pilot, requesting anonymity, told this newspaper that a few pilots have left the organisation and a few are on the verge of leaving, owing to long working hours.

“The number of pilots reporting sick leaves have increased as most of us are flying way over 100 hours a month. Instead of hiring more captains, we are asked to work extra hours,” the pilot said.Another pilot with the airline said that they are not given adequate rest during flight intervals and pilots who are on standby duty are pulled out almost every time.In the third quarter of FY19, IndiGo said that it added 19 aircraft to its fleet, taking its fleet tally to 208 planes. It hasn’t specified the number of pilots they have.

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