Thursday 27 January 2022

Air India to start weighing cabin crew as take over takes effect

AIR INDIA B787-8 VT-ANZ (MSN 36297)

Air India is readying itself for its Tata takeover, and is keenly seeking to reinvent itself as a result of the new investment. Part of this makeover includes ensuring the cabin crew working for the airline are presenting a good image. As well as checking for correct uniform, ‘grooming associates’ will be checking the BMI of those working for the airline. The takeover of Air India by winning bidders Tata is rapidly approaching, with the latest date for handover being given as today, the 27th January. With the much-needed might of India’s biggest conglomerate behind it, Air India is keenly looking forward to a better future under the new leadership. 
While the more fundamental changes to the airline, such as new aircraft and revamped cabins, will take time to appear, it seems Air India is already eyeing how it can present a better image to its passengers. One way in which it is doing this is by evaluating the appearance of its cabin crew members. Air India is planning to check the body mass index (BMI) of its cabin crew, as well as their overall grooming and appearance. The checks, being undertaken by ‘grooming associates,’ will be conducted as crews report for flights. An order issued by executive director Vasudha Chandna states that,

“Cabin Crew who are well dressed and well-groomed according to uniform standards and regulations present a positive and professional image of the airline. It is therefore emphasised that all cabin crew adhere to uniform regulations.”

While the employees are unlikely to be concerned with a general uniform compliance check, the notion that they will be weighed before flying has ruffled some feathers. The All India Cabin Crew Association has hit back at the order, stating in a letter to management that,

“The time for reporting (for flights) is meant for documentation and flight safety revision briefing and review. This stressful BMI check during a reporting is bound to disturb crew mental preparation, giving rise to flight safety issues.”

No disclosure has been made by Air India regarding what the BMI check is looking for, or whether there will be any further actions against those who are found to have a high BMI. As the AICCA points out, cabin crew are primarily flight safety professionals, trained in first aid, so their BMI is largely irrelevant to them being able to do their job.

The Tata takeover

Since Tata was revealed to be the buyer of Air India, not much has changed. Things seem to be moving incredibly slowly, with the handover already delayed by almost a month. Originally, the transfer date was set at the end of December. However, various approvals took longer to secure than originally expected, and so the date was extended to the end of January.

Now, the final pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place. The closing of the balance sheet was set at the 20th January, giving the Tata Group time to scrutinize and approve the financials. That balance sheet is set to be handed over to the new owners today, with the review expected to conclude on Wednesday. If all goes to plan, Thursday, January 27th, will see the airline officially handed to its new owners.

The Tata Group is an Indian multinational conglomerate headquartered in the city of Mumbai, India. Founded in 1868 by Jamshedji Tata, the group gained international recognition after purchasing several global companies. It is one of the biggest and oldest industrial groups in India. Each Tata company operates independently under the guidance and supervision of its own board of directors and shareholders.

In 2020-21, the revenue of Tata companies, taken together, was $103 billion (INR 7.7 trillion). 
These companies collectively employ over 800,000 people.

Each Tata company or enterprise operates independently under the guidance and supervision of its own board of directors. There are 29 publicly-listed Tata enterprises.
Companies include Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Tata Chemicals, Tata Consumer Products, Titan, Tata Capital, Tata Power, Tata Advanced Systems, Indian Hotels and Tata Communications.

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