Air India to cross-train cabin crew

Air India to cross-train cabin crewNEW DELHI: Air India will soon start training its 3,500-strong cabin crew for all types of aircraft in its fleet, rather than keeping a pool of people for a particular kind of airplane.

The move, the first of its kind by any Indian carrier, marks a significant shift from its decades-old practice and is aimed at improving the airline’s on-time performance, as there have been instances where flights get delayed due to non-availability of the type-rated crew.

A type-rated cabin crew means those crew members who are trained to work in one or more types of aircraft, which may have different seating arrangements or safety procedures.

Maintaining that the entire exercise of cross-training is expected to be complete by December 2016, sources said training the cabin crew for various types of aircraft would provide multiple benefits for the employees including “greater flexibility” in rostering.

Besides, the cabin crew would have the option of flying in international as well as domestic routes, they added.

With an ambitious long-term perspective and fleet expansion plan, Air India also anticipates to add more number of crew in the coming months, the current strength being around 3,500. The carrier has managed to reduce the aircraft- employees ratio by almost two-thirds to 108 from 300 more than two years ago.

“Our cockpit crew and cabin crew are indeed the finest in the industry. They have been handling various situations and our passengers with care and devotion,” Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani told PTI.

Currently, Air India has four types of aircraft – A-320s, Boeing 777s, 747s and 787 Dreamliners. There are 65 narrow-bodied A-320s, 21 wide-bodied Dreamliners, 15 777s and five 747s.

The current fleet clocks about 960 flying hours per day and Air India expects the cross-training of cabin crew to push this number higher, sources said.

While A-320 and B-737 planes are required to have at least four cabin crew each, Dreamliners should have a minimum of nine while flying. -PTI

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