Reeling with a huge debt of over ₹52,000 crores, the national carrier Air India has decided to serve Vegetarian-only meal to its economy passengers traveling on domestic flights.
The move comes in as one of the ways to cut down the costs of operation. The Airline management said it was a conscious decision that was made to reduce wastage, reduce cost, and improve the catering services. Further, “the move will also avoid any possible mix-up; like a non-vegetarian meal being served to a vegetarian, as it has happened in the past”, Air India Chairman Ashwini Lohani added.
If the estimates are true, the move would reportedly save ₹8-9 crores annually. While the government is till struggling to find a suitable buyer for the airline which is burdened with debt, this move has come in as a relief. Air India management hopes to ride on this new-found ray of hope and prove its detractors wrong.
Interestingly, the ‘Vegetarian-only’ meal is restricted to economy passengers traveling on domestic flights that take less than 90-minutes. For international flight passengers and domestic travelers flying more than 90-minutes, Air India will continue to offer its full menu, inclusive on Non-veg. Similarly, the guests flying on Business and Executive classes will also not be affected.
This move by Air India has been receiving a lot of mixed reactions from the people. But, as it seems this is not the end of it. There is more to come. Air India Management has reached out to their crew to suggest tips and initiatives that will reduce the expenses and strengthen the airlines.
And it turns out, their next step will be targeted on salads and in-flight AI magazines. As observed by the cabin crew in charge of the operations, only 20% of the guests eat salad and there are talks of discontinuing the salad in the economy class on the international flights. Adding to this, AI Management is also thinking of keeping just 25 copies of the in-flight Air India magazine in one of the racks, rather than putting them in each seat. This will help the airlines in reducing the weight further.
When it comes to cutting down weight, airlines can be pretty obsessed. Indigo had first removed the curtains along with the hooks in front of the cockpit door, as they felt it added weight. In 2013, GoAir announced that all its future recruits would be only women as they weigh 15-20 kilograms less than men and the move was also reported to have saved them an approximate of ₹3 crores annually.
With the future still looking bleak for Air India, this decision is a huge gamble and hopefully, the sun doesn’t set on Air India.
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