IndiGo chaos: Staff away, more than half of the flights delayed; regulator to probe

More than half of IndiGo’s flights have been delayed since Saturday as a large chunk of its staff stayed away from work, throwing its operations awry and inconveniencing a large number of passengers.

The on-time flight performance of India’s biggest carrier by market share, dropped to around 45.2% on Saturday, according to data on the website of the aviation ministry, from the 80s earlier in the week.

IndiGo operates about 1,500 domestic flights.

Its rivals’ on time performance on the same day ranged between 77% (Air India) to 92.3% (AirAsia India).

According to a second person in the know, a large number of staff called in sick as they were attending a recruitment drive of a “rival airline”. He didn’t elaborate.

Angry posts flooded Twitter in the wake of this chaos.

“Can you please look into this and take cognizance ASAP. No staff available, Delayed flight ,gate change. No consistency in the information provided. Original dep time 1.55 displayed at airport, site says 2.45 and msg says 2.30,” said a tweet from Sachit Srivastav.

“Flight 6E 981 Hyderabad to Ranchi delayed by 2 hours, passengers informed in 2 parts, first by an hr and again by an hr, when agitated passengers took to ground staff, food packets & water was called, to utter apathy food packets were noted to be expired,” said a tweet from another passenger.

“..the only reason I’m a customer is on occasions when there is no other option available. 40 minutes in the aircraft now. And the crew refuses to turn on air conditioning. Requests met with ‘Sir we can understand your discomfort, but this is out of our hands! ‘

This after delays and completely botched up ground management. @IndiGo6E,” said another among hundreds of angry tweets from affected passengers.

India’s aviation regulator will investigate the delays.

“We have noted the development and have sought a report from the airline concerned,” said an official at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

While IndiGo’s case is a one-off, airlines across the world are forced to cancel flights because of staffing issues.

Carriers in Europe and the US are canceling thousands of flights. Lufthansa has canceled 3,100 flights scheduled in July and August.

American Airlines canceled close to 4,500 flights, Delta Air Lines over 2,700 flights and United Airlines close to 2,000 flights according to global reports.

In London’s Heathrow airport, chaos has ensued due to massive understaffing. This included hundreds of canceled flights as the airport can’t handle them, long queues and thousands of baggage items being untraceable.


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