Indian carrier Air India grounds130 flight attendants for being fat

Published on : Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Air-Indias-flight-attendants-too-fat-to-flyThe national carrier of India, Air India, is grounding around 130 flight attendants after measuring their BMI body fat levels. Last year, Air India already warned 600 of its 3,500-cabin crew to lose weight within six months to reach a “normal” weight or face demotion. Those who failed to meet the standards will now be given ground assignments at airports. The airline insists it is a not an issue of weight, but one of “fitness” and safety.



The airline said that the “normal” BMI for an airhostess is between 18 and 22, “overweight” between 22 and 27, and “obese” for a value above 27. For male attendants the brackets were 18 to 25, 25 to 30, and above. The NHS says a “healthy” BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9.



Air India has come under fire for its decision to ground flight attendants it considers overweight. To its response, the airline said that it is not the issue of weight but with those within the prescribed standards of BMI can work more effectively, efficiently and quickly.



However, this isn’t the first time the airline has caused controversy; in 2004, it faced strong criticism when the airline said potential flight attendants should not have any scars, acne, or any major marks on the face. The critics suggested that the move was nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to remove flight attendants who did not meet certain beauty standards.



Mark Martin, an aviation industry consultant said that the move to impose a certain BMI, ignoring experience and other performance parameters, is immature, misogynistic, and shockingly sexist step. It is more important to focus on the training guidelines and frequently subject all airlines to surprise safety audits like the mock evacuation drills to ensure that the safety standards of the airline are maintained.



Supporting the airline’s idea, Kapil Kaul, another aviation expert said that a smart friendly agile crew can complement the image of the airline and an overweight crew is a signal the airline is not fit.

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