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Pilots raise burnout concerns as Vistara tries to resolve flight crisis

Vistara Airlines, soon to merge with Air India, hoped to run flights on normal schedule by the weekend after town hall with pilots

Vinod Kannan, CEO, Vistara

Vinod Kannan, CEO, Vistara

Vasudha Mukherjee New Delhi

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Vistara airline is hopeful of running flights as scheduled by the weekend after reaching a deal with pilots who complained of fatigue, NDTV reported on Thursday.

The report said pilots of the joint venture between the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines are operating near the limits of their maximum flight duty restrictions and spoke about health issues in their talks with the company’s management. While acknowledging these challenges, sources quoted by NDTV denied any coordinated mass sick leave.

Last week, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) deferred implementing revised flight duty norms for pilots. The decision to defer the norms – initially scheduled to take effect from June 1 and aimed to mitigate pilot fatigue – stemmed from the need for broader consultations.

125 Vistara Flights Cancelled

According to a Reuters report, more than 125 Vistara flights have been cancelled since April 1. The cancellations were attributed to a surge in pilot sick leave requests. The most affected routes included Delhi-Indore, Delhi-Srinagar, Mumbai-Kochi, and Bengaluru-Udaipur.

Spot airfares on these routes also surged by up to 38 per cent following the flight cancellations earlier this week.

Vistara-Air India Merger

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore granted approval for the merger of Vistara with Air India in March 2024. Vistara's CEO, Vinod Kannan, indicated plans for operational integration with Air India by mid-2025, with expectations of receiving legal clearances by mid-2024.

Vistara's management, including chief executive Vinod Kannan, held discussions with pilots during a virtual town hall. According to a report by ANI, the meeting focused on addressing concerns related to new contracts and roster. The pilots were promised more considerate utilisation of their time.

Kannan appealed to pilots for support in ensuring smooth operations. To alleviate the strain on resources during the crisis, Vistara reduced daily flights.

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First Published: Apr 04 2024 | 1:05 PM IST

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