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Sacked AI hostesses back in air on ' political' wings.

THE Air India ( AI) management ' succumbed' to political pressure on Thursday unconditionally revoking the termination of 12 hostess and a flight purser who had been sacked earlier this month for repeatedly reporting late or skipping duty leading to delayed or cancelled flights.

The decision to revoke the termination was taken after the Shiv Sena- backed breakaway faction of the All India Cabin Crew Association ( AICCA) held a meeting with AI chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan here on Thursday.

According to officials, reversing the order is bound to be taken as assign of weakness and will make it more difficult to discipline erring staff in the loss- making national carrier, which is struggling to improve its efficiency.

M AIL T ODAY on March 7 reported that some members of Parliament from Mumbai cutting across party lines were pressuring AI to reinstate the hostesses and the purser. A top AI official had told this newspaper that most of the employees, especially the high- flying hostesses, are " very well- connected" and have been trying to pressure the management to revoke their termination.

Ironically, the official also said that termination of these hostesses doesn't mean that they would not be taken back. " If we find that there was a genuine case for not having reported to work or reporting late, they can always be considered to be taken back," the official had stated.

As against an industry average of 75 hours of monthly flying, AI cabin crew work for an average of only 52 hours on international routes and 55 hours in the domestic sector.

AI had sacked the hostesses, four of them on contract, and the purser over a period of nine days in February- March for not following flight duty time limitation norms. AI had issued a show- cause notice to, at least, 40 hostess and a few pursers last September.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Mar 14, 2014
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