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Vistara Trims Flights as Pilot Shortage Creates Turbulence


Vistara, one of India’s leading airlines, is facing turbulence as pilots stage protests over changes post the airline’s merger with Air India. The carrier has witnessed nearly 150 flight cancellations and 200 flight delays since March 31, causing widespread disruptions for passengers.

Pilots’ Concerns

Pilots at Vistara have expressed dissatisfaction with the new pay structure and work hours introduced as part of the merger process. They cite exhaustion issues due to operating close to their maximum flying hours. The situation has led to concerns about their health and safety, with pilots reportedly “flying at the limits of the maximum duty limitations”.

Vistara’s Response

In an effort to address these concerns, Vistara is actively working to improve the work-life balance for its pilots. The airline’s CEO, Vinod Kannan, recently apologized to pilots for their taxing schedules and sought their support in resolving the issues. He also announced that flight cancellations would continue until the end of the month to create a pilot buffer.

The Merger and Consolidation

The Tata Group, which holds the majority stake in Vistara, acquired debt-ridden Air India in 2021. As part of the consolidation process, Vistara is merging its various entities. Once the merger is complete, Vistara will invest $250 million for a 25.1% stake in the combined entity 2.

Looking Ahead

Despite the challenges, Vistara remains committed to providing quality service to its passengers. The airline attributes some of the delays in March to factors such as bird hits, planned maintenance, weather disruptions, and congestion. However, it acknowledges that rosters have been utilized to the maximum and is actively working to modify them for a better work-life balance .

As the airline industry navigates these changes, passengers are advised to stay informed about flight updates and potential disruptions. Vistara continues to explore solutions to restore normal operations and ensure passenger satisfaction.

Disclaimer: This article is based on available information and may be subject to updates as the situation evolves.

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