Pre-merger woes mount: Cancellations & delays force Vistara to cut flights | India News

NEW DELHI: Vistara’s pre-merger woes have mounted with “significant cancellations and delays in past few days” now forcing the airline to “temporarily” truncate its schedule. It will deploy wide body Dreamliners and Airbus A321s on domestic route in a bid to clear the backlog of affected passengers.
Discontent has been simmering amid Vistara pilots over reported pay cuts when they become part of Air India.For about the past couple of months many have been reporting sick and crew unavailability, among other reasons, has led to poor on time performance and high cancellations.
The last 2-3 days have been very bad, with social media flooded with complaints on these counts. On Monday evening, the airline admitted that it has “had a significant number of flight cancellations and delays in the past few days due to various reasons including crew unavailability.” Monday is believed to have seen about 50 flights getting affected by evening itself and Tuesday could see that number grow to about 60. The airline operates over 300 flights, domestic and international together.
While acknowledging and being “deeply concerned about inconvenience caused to customers”, the airline said: “Our teams are working towards minimising the discomfort to customers. We have decided to temporarily reduce number of flights we operate, to ensure adequate connectivity across our network. We have also deployed larger aircraft like our Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and Airbus A321neo on select domestic routes to combine flights or accommodate more number of customers, wherever possible.”
It is offering alternate flight options or refunds to affected customers, as applicable. “We understand these disruptions have caused immense discomfort to our customers, and sincerely apologise to them for the same. We are working towards stabilising the situation and will resume operating our regular capacity very soon,” a Vistara spokesperson said.
Nirupama Kotru, a passenger’s sister said on her X handle @nirupamakotru, on Monday: “Vistara, what is happening? Cancellations and delays are becoming common. Sunday evening Delhi-Mumbai flight was suddenly cancelled and rescheduled to Monday morning (today). Delhi-Goa flight which was to take off at 12.45pm, yet to take off because there is no pilot? Crew clueless.”
The Delhi-Goa flight, UK 555, left at 6.17 pm Monday. Its scheduled time of departure was 12.45 pm. “Two-hour delay now. No info. People getting restless. Frayed tempers. My sister stuck at boarding gate with other passengers. Vistara please explain what is pilot roster issue and when the flight will take off. It’s a real shame when this happens to (a) preferred airline,” Kotru said on X at 2.59 pm Monday.
Vistara is to be merged into AI over the next few months. While pilots complain of a pay cut, there is discontent among other sections of employees too. “The issue is what level we will be at in the merged airline,” say some employees. Sources say the decision to merge Vistara into AI was expedited for this reason alone as more delay could mean more senior roles at AI being filled up and leaving not much scope of accommodating the arrivals from Vistara.
Similar troubles have not been seen, or at least to this scale, during the ongoing merger of erstwhile AirAsia India into AI Express. The reason: AirAsia India was shrinking in the last few months and employees saw merger with AI Express as a way of survival. Vistara, on the other hand, had created a niche for itself as India’s finest full service carrier in contemporary times while AI, also a FSC, is in the midst of a massive revival project by the Tatas.

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