Vistara Flight Fiasco: Why Flights are Cancelled, Delayed, with Crew Reporting Sick Leave?

In the skies of Indian aviation, turbulence isn't always caused by weather patterns or air traffic.

In the comedic saga of airline mishaps, Vistara has taken center stage with a performance that could rival any slapstick comedy. As flights get grounded faster than a paper airplane in a hurricane, pilots and crew members are calling in sick faster than you can say "in-flight entertainment."

vistara pilot crisis

Dozens of Flights Cancelled and Delayed

Vistara Airlines faced another day of disruptions with at least 39 flights cancelled today, adding to the growing number of flight cancellations and delays. Over the past months, a surge in pilots and crew members reporting sick has led to a significant number of canceled flights due to crew unavailability. Key cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore have witnessed the brunt of these cancellations, with 10-15 flights each being grounded. This morning alone, thirty-eight flights from various cities were canceled, including fifteen from Mumbai, twelve from Delhi, and eleven from Bengaluru. The preceding day saw over fifty flight cancellations and around a hundred and sixty delays.

vistara pilot crisis

Why are the pilots protesting?

The recent disruptions stem from pilots protesting against the airline's latest pay revision, which has seen reductions in certain salary components. Reports indicate dissatisfaction among pilots and crew members over the revised salary structures, which include reduced components alongside increased incentives linked to flying hours.

vistara pilot crisis

What did the airline say?

Apologizing for the inconvenience caused to passengers, a Vistara spokesperson announced measures to mitigate the disruptions. The airline has decided to temporarily reduce its operational flights to ensure continued connectivity across its network. Assurances were given regarding the resumption of regular operations, with ongoing efforts to stabilize the situation.

Concerns Over Pay Cuts and Revised Salary Structures

The ongoing cancellations coincide with concerns raised by pilots regarding pay cuts implemented by the company. The revised salary structures have triggered dissatisfaction among pilots and crew members, leading to increased sick reports and subsequent flight cancellations. Pilots not conforming to the new pay structure risk exclusion from upgrade sequences and forfeiting promised one-time bonuses.

vistara pilot crisis

Impact of Air India Merger

Vistara's merger with Air India, announced in 2022, has introduced additional complexities. While legal formalities are expected to conclude by mid-2024, operational integration may extend further. Pilots not agreeing to the revised salary terms risk exclusion from the transition to Air India, further exacerbating discontent among the workforce.

vistara pilot crisis

Centre's Intervention

With mounting complaints from passengers, the government intervened, demanding explanations from Vistara regarding the flight disruptions. A preliminary report has been submitted, with further details sought by Union Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia, including the airline's proposed measures to address the issue.

Deployment of Dreamliners and Airbus A321s due to backlog

To address the backlog caused by cancellations, Vistara announced plans to reduce flights temporarily while deploying larger aircraft such as Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A321s. This strategic move aims to ensure connectivity and accommodate affected passengers. Despite efforts, social media reflects growing discontent with delays and customer service, prompting the airline to intensify its efforts to minimize customer dissatisfaction.

As Vistara navigates through this turbulence faster than you can say "emergency landing," passengers are left wondering: will their flights take off, or will they be stuck in limbo faster than you can say "boarding pass"? One thing's for sure, though—the only thing flying higher than Vistara's planes right now is the comedy of errors that seems to have no end in sight.

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