DGCA Cracks Down On Vistara Airlines Over Flight Cancellations And Delays Amid Pilot Protests; Demands Daily Reports

DGCA Cracks Down On Vistara Airlines Over Flight Cancellations And Delays Amid Pilot Protests; Demands Daily Reports

The Tata group run Vistara operates over 300 flights daily witnessed 15 cancelled flights at Mumbai Airport, 12 cancellations from Delhi and 11 cancellations in Bengaluru flights with passenger complaining of long waits and no communication from the airline.

Dharmesh ThakkarUpdated: Tuesday, April 02, 2024, 09:31 PM IST
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The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has come down heavily on the Tata - Singapore International Airlines (SIA) joint venture run Vistara airlines for flight cancellation and major delays demanding to submit daily reports.

The Tata group run Vistara operates over 300 flights daily witnessed 15 cancelled flights at Mumbai Airport, 12 cancellations from Delhi and 11 cancellations in Bengaluru flights with passenger complaining of long waits and no communication from the airline. 

The mass sick leave of pilots disrupted flights across Vistara network  triggered by the introduction of a revised salary structure by the airlines saw over 55 flight cancellations and 150 flight delays on Tuesday leading to major disruptions of flight schedules at Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad airports inconveniencing several hundred flyers for third consecutive day. 

"many pilots opted to take their leaves simultaneously, leading to disruptions in flight operations,” confirmed a senior Vistara official. 

The Tata group run airlines has been hit with major delays and hundreds of flight cancellations due to unavailability of crew and pilots protesting the new contract terms that follows Tata group’s Air India — with which Vistara is set to merge. 

Several passengers stranded due to abrupt cancellation and long delays spoke to the Free Press Journal expressing dismay at the Tata run airlines. “My flight was booked for Hyderabad was cancelled after my arrival at airport. Vistara first sent sms that flight is delayed due to air congestion and later cancelled the flight without any explanation. My day is wasted and have to book another flight at higher price,” complained businessman Anand Jain. 

In a media statement, Vistara said it has decided to temporarily reduce the number of flights it operates to “ensure adequate connectivity across our network” and also deploy larger aircraft on select domestic routes in order to combine flights.

“We are offering alternate flight options or refunds to affected customers, as applicable. Vistara is working towards stabilizing the situation and will resume operating our regular capacity very soon,” said a Vistara spokesperson. 

The airline has deployed larger aircraft like our B787-9 Dreamliner and A321neo on select domestic routes to combine flights and accommodate more flyers on busy routes.

The airlines has blamed protesting pilots not reporting to work for the flight disruptions causing cancellation and delays. The new pay structure will now have pilots to fly longer hours at less pay.

The pilots eligible for guaranteed pay for 40 hours, down from the 70 hours in their earlier contracts with the airline has led to fears that there could be a notable cut in the pilots’ take-home salaries.

The new contract effective from April will have Vistara pilots receive a fixed salary for 40 hours instead of the previous 70 hours, aligning with a standardized salary structure across Tata group airlines and also extend to potential repercussions on their seniority, which plays a crucial role in career advancement post-merger.

“Seniority is determined by the length of a pilot's service with a specific airline. When pilots switch airlines, their seniority resets regardless of their flying experience,” explained a veteran pilot.

A DGCA official said provisions of the Civil Aviation Requirements require airlines to provide facilities to passengers due to denied boarding, cancellation of flights and flight delays. They are also required to give passengers advance information about the flight status, and an option to seek a refund and compensation, depending on the situation.

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