Cabin crew to shape up or ship out

2013-03-27 14:59
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New Delhi - Air India is cracking down on its cabin crew over the age of 40, who could be grounded in coming weeks if they are found to be unfit or overweight.

NBC News reports that the state-run carrier has told all cabin crew members over 40 that they have until Friday to pass a battery of medical tests, including blood pressure, blood sugar, height, weight, waist-to-hip ratio, eyesight and other specifics.

For the male cabin crew at Air India, the health tests are a new requirement for continued employment. Women, who make up about 70 percent of Air India's cabin crew, regularly have their weight tested, but are rarely grounded for being overweight, the airline said. Air India has also required female cabin crew to take medical tests starting at age 35.

Of its 4 000 strong cabin crew, about a quarter are over the age of 40, which makes the mandatory health checks issued to all Indian airlines, especially heavy on Air India.

"We are unhappy about this new regulation," said Sanjay Lazar, 45, who has worked as a cabin crew member at Air India for 27 years.

For older cabin crew, "these tests are causing a lot of stress," he said. Cabin crew who are grounded after failing the medical tests could see their salaries slashed by up to 70 percent since they are paid for the number of hours they fly, he said.

Air India officials said they are just complying with regulations and that crew members need to be fit, as they perform all kinds of duties, including dealing with emergencies. "They are not there just to mix drinks," an Air India spokeperson said to the New York Times.

Read more on:    travel international

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