The restructured version of India’s Jet Airways won’t hire male flight attendants when it restarts operations because it wants to save money on hotel costs for cabin crew on overnight layovers. Under the airline’s plans, flight attendants will share hotel rooms as part of extreme cost-saving measures.
Hiring both male and female crew would run the risk that the airline might have to spend extra money for individual rooms.
Jet Airways went out of business under a pile of debt in 2019 but investors are hoping to resurrect what was a popular and well-regarded airline with a new hybrid model. New chief executive Sanjiv Kapoor said on Twitter on Tuesday that male cabin crew would only be hired once the airline reached a certain operational scale in order to “optimise hotel costs”.
When someone questioned how not hiring male cabin crew would help save hotel costs, Kapoor admitted that flight attendants will be expected to share rooms. A similar cost-cutting scheme was dreamt up by Air India in 2018 but the measure remains the exception rather than the norm at other international airlines.
Jet Airways reportedly plans to compete in India’s ultra-competitive aviation market by offering a hybrid model with a full-service Business Class cabin up the front of the plane but a low-cost offering with buy onboard food and drink in Economy. The airline hopes to secure a flying permit within weeks and then begin operations as early as July.
Jet Airways will make history as the first-ever airline resurrection in history, Kapoor says. He was previously chief operating officer at Tata-backed Vistara where men were excluded from becoming cabin crew until 2018. Kapoor says Vistara always planned to hire male cabin crew but waited until the airline reached a certain size.
Cabin crew at other international airlines aren’t expected to share hotel rooms although Emirates does sometimes make its Cabin Service Attendants – dedicated cabin crew who look after the First Class Shower and Spa on Airbus A380s – share hotel rooms occasionally.
In 2017, Emirates had to dispel a rumour that it wanted cabin crew to share hotel rooms as part of the Dubai-based airline’s attempts to save costs. The rumour came about because of an isolated overbooking situation that was quickly remedied.