Air India has announced a new company policy to check the Body Mass Index (BMI) and weight of the crew members while they report for taking the flight. The mandate did not resonate well with the airline’s cabin crew union. The ratio of weight and height of the crew members will be checked by ‘grooming associates’, who are assigned with the task of recording observations on BMI management, uniform and other grooming aspects.
Air India Cabin Crew Union raised its objection against the policy to the airline’s inflight service department. According to Air India, the guidelines are intended to check that the crews are in-line with the uniform regulations. "The cabin supervisor of the flight should take the responsibility to ensure that her/his set of crews are well turned out and follow complete uniform regulations,” the communication sent out by the airline read.
Doctors in clinics should conduct BMI checks, says the Air India crew union
According to the association, such assessments should be performed by doctors in the privacy of the medical clinics and not by grooming assistants. Also, the association demands that the lady crew members be checked only by female medical practitioners. The new mandate can disturb the crews’ mentally ahead of the flights.
“This stressful BMI check during a reporting at ‘CCMCO’ is bound to disturb crew mental preparation through giving rise to flight safety issues, pre-departure when cabin crew are required to conduct rapid review and briefings,” the union added.
Air India Cabin Crew Association may seek legal remedies if the mandate is not withdrawn. “Respectfully, we thus would call upon you to amend the impugned circular and reissue it without the offending clause of ‘BMI Check/BMI Management’ failing which AICCA may be compelled to seek legal redressal which may also extend to the issuance of a directive and contempt, none of which we desire at this stage,” the statement from the union said.
The statement also highlights that such new mandates could be in contrast to the Share Purchase Agreement signed between the government and Tata Sons, who awaits Air India takeover. The order comes days before the handover.