Over half of the flights operated by India's biggest airline, IndiGo, were delayed on Saturday after a large number of cabin crew members did not report for duty, reports bdnews24.com citing Indian newspaper Business Standard.
Sources for the daily said that they went for job interviews at other airlines after reporting being sick. Tata-owned Air India, as well as Jet and Akasa, are in the midst of a massive recruitment drive.
Only 45 percent of IndiGo's flights, usually known for their promptness, departed on time on Saturday.
Over 850 flights took off 15 minutes late, prompting irate passengers to express displeasure on social media over the delays. Many of them missed their connecting flight or train, according to the newspaper.
“Most delays happened in Delhi — IndiGo’s largest base. As a result, the entire network saw a cascading impact,” said a person aware of the development.
A pilot of the airline who was operating a flight from Bengaluru said he waited for two hours for cabin crew members to show up.
A senior executive of IndiGo denied that the airline had any shortage in cabin crew staff, but added that sudden last-minute leave was difficult to cover up.
He said that they have sufficient crew and standby employees for unforeseen circumstances.
“But aviation is a highly regulated matter in terms of work pattern and it is impossible to cover up if so many crew members report sick at the last moment,” he said.