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SC upholds AI decision to slash cabin crew

October 29, 2007 18:48 IST
Air India has overcome the legal hurdle to slash the number of its cabin crew on board as the apex court has dismissed a petition filed by Air India Cabin Crew Association challenging the national carrier's decision.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhan dismissed the petition saying that the association had been consulted before working out such an arrangement.

"You have been consulted and heard. You have consented to such arrangement," the court said, adding, "There are better ways of management which every other airline is doing. Why not Air India... if they want to privatise and compete then why they can't be competitive."

The Association had sought quashing of the Bombay High Court judgment that upheld the Centre's decision to reduce the number of crew members aboard Air India flights.

Senior counsel Arun Jaitley, appearing for the association, had submitted that the AI management had unilaterally sought to change the cabin crew complement in their aircraft thus "affecting the health of the petitioners' members, safety of passengers and the aircraft."

The operation of flights with reduced crew had resulted in interchangeability of job functions between the separate and distinct categories of cabin crew, the association had said.

According to the petition, the unilateral slashing of the number of the cabin crew on board all aircraft had resulted in elimination of posts in each type of aircraft, proportionate increase in the workload, reduction in monthly utilisation of the crew and number of flying hours per month besides

reduction in compensatory flight related allowances.

Air India Ltd had passed an order altering the cabin crew complement on all its aircraft across the board with effect from March 15 2007.

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