At least 78 international and domestic Air India Express flights were cancelled after senior crew members reported sick overnight without notice. Airline sources told media that they suspected the crew members to be unhappy with the performance-linked incentive component of salaries after the revamp and restructuring.

The sources also said that the crew members wanted to avoid chaos at airports.

In a statement earlier, a National news agency spokesperson said, “A section of our cabin crew reported sick at the last minute, starting last night, resulting in flight delays and cancellations. While we are engaging with the crew to understand the reasons behind these occurrences, our teams are actively addressing this issue to minimise any inconvenience caused to our guests as a result.”

“We sincerely apologise to our guests for this unexpected disruption and emphasise that this situation does not reflect the standard of service we strive to provide. Guests impacted by cancellations will be offered a full refund or complimentary rescheduling to another date,” a media agency quoted the statement as saying.

The spokesperson also urged passengers flying with Air India Express today “to check if their flight is affected, before heading to the airport”.

Air India Express, now owned by the Tata Group, was issued a show cause notice by the Union Labour Ministry in December 2023 for alleged violations of regulations related to disputes between the airline’s management and cabin crew members.

The notice was linked to concerns raised by cabin crew members, including issues with room sharing during layovers.

The show cause notice was issued a month after the Air India Express Employees Union (AIXEU) had written to Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia regarding various grievances raised by the cabin crew members, which also included the curtailment of service contracts for some members.