60+ Vistara flights cancelled, regulator seeks daily updates

Apr2,2024


New Delhi/Mumbai: Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday asked crisis-hit Vistara to provide daily information about flight cancellations and delays and extend all facilities to passengers along with refunds and compensation. The development came on a day when the airline canceled over 60 flights after around 50 on Monday, as reported by TOI.
Vistara has a daily schedule of over 350 domestic and international flights. On Tuesday, from Mumbai alone, the airline canceled 14 departures and 17 arrivals. On international routes, flights from Mumbai to Paris and Male were cancelled. Passengers booked on connecting international flights from Delhi and Mumbai were the most affected. There was a cancellation and several delays in Kolkata. The airline has not yet issued any statement.

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DGCA: Vistara flight disruption due to this crew unavailability
on time performance Vistara's currently operated flights (OTP) have been closed due to an ongoing dispute pilot shortage, According to data on the aviation ministry website, only 51% of the airline's domestic flights were on time on Monday.
“We are monitoring the situation to ensure compliance and minimize passenger inconvenience,” a senior DGCA official said.
DGCA says Vistara is experiencing flight disruptions “due to various reasons including crew unavailability”. While the pilots are unhappy with the “salary cut” they will have to face when the airline merges with Air India and other reasons, Vistara sources say they are hopeful the issue will be resolved by this week. “Our Tuesday OTP was much better than Monday's, although there are still some delays. As far as pilots being unhappy with the increase in minimum pay from 70 hours to 40 hours per month (under the new agreement “As far as they have to sign (as per Vistara's preparations) for the merger, they will actually earn more than before because the utilization for active pilots is more than 70 hours,” a source said.
It is important for Vistara to have normal operations for the capacity-constrained peak summer travel season. Already, passengers are now complaining about the hike in fares, avoiding Vistara and either rebooking on other airlines or making fresh bookings. For example, the cheapest economy ticket on a budget carrier to fly from Bengaluru to Delhi on April 6 and return on April 14 starts at Rs 25,000 and goes up to Rs 46,000, according to searches on online travel agencies. It shows.
Sushil Patni, a senior citizen traveling to Azerbaijan with his wife, said, “I was sleeping when late at night the airline messaged that our 8.20 am flight from Indore to Delhi had been cancelled.” “We then booked a 10 am IndiGo flight to Chandigarh from where we took a flight to Delhi, as was a 9 pm flight to Baku. We booked a last minute flight to Delhi via Chandigarh. Spent more than Rs 21,000 for IndiGo flight.”
Nearly 75 of IndiGo's planes have been grounded due to problems with Pratt & Whitney engines, GoAir has not been flying since last May, SpiceJet is operating few flights, and new aircraft are being delivered at a slower pace than promised by both Boeing and Airbus. The Vistara crisis couldn't have happened at a worse time, right before the peak summer travel season.
Vistara is scheduled to operate 2,324 weekly domestic flights this summer, up 25% from 1,856 last summer. A fall in this will increase the ongoing shortage amid huge demand and air fares may skyrocket.
The aviation ministry, aware of the outrage it would cause in the busy election season, on Tuesday said it was monitoring the situation over Vistara flight cancellations.
Analyzing what was going wrong, senior AI and Vistara pilots said the new pay settlement for Vistara pilots was not initiated properly. “There was no consideration given to seniority and experience for the employees in the merged entity. Pilots were not consulted. Some of the senior management did not have sufficient experience and maturity to handle the complex process of merger crew scheduling. “Has not considered adequate fatigue and lifestyle management,” said a senior pilot.



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