Air India will bring down the frequency of flights temporarily to certain routes in the United States to address the issue of crew shortages, Air India’s Managing Director and CEO Campbell Wilson announced today. In terms of nonstop flights between India and the US, Air India is now the main provider.
In order to expand the number of pilots for its fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft, the airline would be limiting the number of flights it operates to New York’s Newark airport and San Francisco’s airport by three each per week for two to three months, Wilson told the media on the sidelines of the CAPA India Aviation Summit. Presently, Air India has 17 flights per week to San Francisco and six flights per week to Newark. The airline has 47 weekly flights to the US in total.
Air India’s flights to and from the US have occasionally experienced lengthy delays or even cancellations over the previous few months. In India, there is a relatively small pool of pilots with the Boeing 777 rating, according to Wilson. The airline expects to hire 100 pilots and 1,400 cabin crew within the next two to three months. Wilson stated that Air India does not expect a significant crew scarcity in the medium term because the airline plans to increase its crew numbers as its fleet and network grow.
Air India has been pushing to quickly put its grounded aircraft back into service, especially the wide-body aircraft since it was sold to the Tata group. Crew shortage has become an issue as several of these have resumed flight.
Air India will also replace some twin-aisle aircraft with narrow-body aircraft on some flights to Bangkok and Dubai over the next few months as part of the plan to address the issue of a crew shortage for wide-body aircraft.