Air India plans to ground about 130 of its cabin crew for being too fat.
Britain’s Daily Telegraph reports that the edict has now come to pass. The airline is cracking down on cabin crew whose body mass index (BMI) levels are considered unacceptable.
When weight and body-mass-index tests began last year, 600 staff found to be overweight were given a warning and asked to lose weight by changing their diet and lifestyle and exercising more.
In 2009, the airline grounded 10 flight attendants it found too fat. Four years later, Air India said that hiring female flight attendants rather than males could save it a lot of money in fuel costs because females were on average considerably lighter than males.
Most of the 130 flight attendants Air India plans to remove for being allegedly overweight are, however, female.
All of these moves and pronouncements have provoked outrage among cabin crew unions in India.
In 2014, a judge ordered Indian Airlines (part of Air India) to reinstate three hostesses fired for gaining weight.
Critics slam the weight rules as “ridiculous” and “shockingly sexist”. Some claim the rules let airlines punish staff for being just 10 grams overweight.
Written by Peter Needham