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DGCA seeks daily report on Vistara flight cancellations; airline cancels over 50 flights on Tuesday

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NewsDrum Desk
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New Delhi/Mumbai, Apr 2 (PTI) Aviation watchdog DGCA has asked Vistara to submit a daily report on flight cancellations and delays as the Tata group airline cancelled more than 50 flights for the second straight day on Tuesday amid non-availability of pilots.

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The civil aviation ministry is also monitoring the situation of flight cancellations at Vistara, which saw resignations of at least 15 senior first officers in the recent past.

The airline cancelled over 50 flights on Tuesday, according to a source.

As per the summer schedule, which started from March 31, the airline is to operate a little over 300 flights daily. It has around 800 pilots.

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The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday said in view of various flight disruptions of Vistara, it has asked the airline to submit daily information and details of flights that are being cancelled and delayed.

The DGCA officials are also monitoring the situation to ensure compliance with requirements for providing facilities to passengers in case of flight cancellations and delays.

This is to minimise the inconvenience to passengers, the regulator said.

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On Tuesday, the civil aviation ministry said it is monitoring the situation of Vistara flight cancellations.

"However, flight operations are managed by airlines themselves. Airlines have to comply with DGCA norms to ensure passenger facilitation in case of cancellation or delay of flights," the ministry said in a post on X.

Many passengers have taken to social media to complain about flight delays and cancellations.

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A day after the carrier announced reducing operations due to non-availability of crew and other operational reasons, sources on Tuesday said some commanders as well as first officers of its A320 fleet are also reporting sick to protest pay revisions due to signing of new contracts.

Reflecting the impact of flight cancellations and delays, Vistara's On Time Performance (OTP) touched 51.4 per cent on April 1 and it was the lowest among the scheduled airlines, as per the latest data from the civil aviation ministry.

The airline's passenger load factor stood at 85.4 per cent on April 1, the data showed.

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In recent weeks, discontentment has been simmering among pilots at Vistara, which is in the process of getting merged with Air India, following the new contracts wherein there are concerns that fixed pay component is getting reduced and there is more flying-linked incentive in the salary structure.

The new contracts that will bring parity between pilots of Vistara and Air India have been introduced as part of the ongoing merger process.

Vistara is a joint venture between the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines.

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Many first officers of Vistara's A320 fleet have been reporting sick in the past few weeks and on Monday alone, around 50 flights were cancelled and many were delayed as there were not enough pilots to operate flights.

The sources said now some commanders of the A320 fleet are reporting sick.

Vistara has a fleet of 70 planes comprising 63 aircraft from A320 family and seven wide-body Boeing 787s.

In a statement on Monday, Vistara said it had a significant number of flight cancellations and delays in the past few days due to various reasons, including crew unavailability.

"We have decided to temporarily reduce the number of flights we operate, to ensure adequate connectivity across our network," the airline had said, and also apologised for the disruptions.

Further, the airline has deployed larger aircraft like B787-9 Dreamliner and A321 neo on select domestic routes to combine flights or accommodate more customers, wherever possible.

In the ongoing summer schedule, Vistara is to operate 25.22 per cent more weekly flights at 2,324. PTI RAM IAS TRB

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