Air India Grounds 130 Flight Attendants Because Of Weight

Air India Grounds 130 Flight Attendants
Following a warning in 2014, Air India grounded 130 employees whose body mass index was deemed too high for effective cabin crew members. Photo by 360b/Shutterstock

NEW DELHI, Sept. 14 (UPI) — Following a warning in 2014, Air India will move 130 employees out of cabin crew duty because their body mass index is above the airline’s limit.

The company warned 600 of its 3,500 cabin crew personnel last year to lose weight within six months or risk being taken off flights and given stationary jobs. Now, the airline is taking action, displacing flight attendants whose BMI exceeds 22.

Air India policy states that the normal BMI for such employees should be between 18 and 22, while the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says a healthy BMI is actually between 18.5 and 24.9.

As per last year’s warnings, the 600 employees were found to be overweight or obese and asked to undergo clinical examinations and forced to lose weight through diet and lifestyle changes that were monitored by staff.

An Air India official told The Telegraph that that 130 employees ultimately failed to deliver on the weight loss and will now be declared “permanently unfit” for their job in the skies. The airline said slimmer flight attendants will more effectively respond to emergency situations.

In 2009, the airline displaced ten flight attendants for the same reason. In 2013, the company argued that exclusively employing female flight attendants could save the company hundreds of thousands of dollars because their average weight is 33 to 44 pounds lower than their male counterparts.

An All India Cabin Crew Association member said that the airline’s action was ridiculous and could jeopardize Air India flight attendants’ best quality, “long experience.”

According to a crew member, Qingdao Airlines in China also grounded a female flight attendant in August for the same reason, a claim the company denies. Qingdao’s female flight attendants must be younger than 30, weigh in between 110 and about 190 pounds and be no taller than about five and a half feet.


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