The DGCA on May 2, 2014 had issued guidelines on ideal BMI for male and female staffers.
Mumbai: Air India has grounded 25 of its female cabin crew members for being ‘obese’. The national carrier’s chairman and managing director (CMD) Ashwani Lohani had in an internal meeting, in June this year, told 110 overweight crew members to maintain the body mass index (BMI) prescribed (see box) by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) within six months’ time.
The aviation regulator’s guidelines state that ideal BMI for a woman cabin crew member should be between 18 to 22, while for males it has to be between 18 and 25. According to the latest statistics, of the 110 overweight Air India crew members, 60 were found to be obese. Twenty five of the obese crew members — all women — from all over the country have now been grounded, meaning that they are debarred from flying and are being given ground staff duty.
Mr Lohani said, “We are being more strict about the crew members’ BMI, as they had been given time to achieve the required BMI. With the shortage of around 1,800 crewmembers, we have recruited 300 crewmembers and are in the process of hiring 300 more people for cabin crew.”
The airline in 2015 decided to ground 125 of its crewmembers due to the same issue, but had to revoke its decision owing to staff crunch. The airline’s medical services department had, in 2015, written to the DGCA asking it to relax the norms, as the average age of the crew was around 45 years.
The DGCA on May 2, 2014 had issued guidelines on ideal BMI for male and female staffers. According to them an overweight person is to be declared temporarily unfit and grounded from flight duty. They would, however, continue to be employed as ground staff. If they remain overweight even after 18 months, they are to be declared permanently unfit and terminated from service. The crew have to undergo a medical examination once every four years till the age of 40. This increases to once every two years thereafter, till the age of 50, and once a year for staff older than 50. A senior member of the All India Cabin Crew Association said, “Conducting a medical test every year is wrong and unlawful. It should be done every four years till the age of 40 and so on, but this is not being done. Instead, every year they come up with these tests. We have written a letter to the DGCA raising the issue.”