Air India welcomes back 'chubby' air hostesses

Air India welcomes back 'chubby' air hostesses

By AFP - India's embattled state carrier Air India has invited back former flight hostesses it sacked for being overweight as it seeks to overcome a severe shortage of cabin crew, a spokesman.

The company has approached nine to 10 women who were fired more than a year ago because they did not meet strict weight criteria for staff working in the cabin.

"About three of them have indicated that they would be willing to come back," the spokesman told AFP, asking not to be named in line with company policy.

He stressed that the weight limits were still in force - they are calculated based on height and age - and that the crew would have to be more svelte if they re-applied for their former jobs.

"We are not relaxing our standards," he said.

Sacked overweight women have unsuccessfully challenged Air India's policy in Indian courts, which upheld clauses in the group's employment contracts.

The crisis-hit airline has faced protests from passengers in recent weeks over severe delays to its flights caused by a shortage of cabin crew, endemic absenteeism and problems adapting to a new airport terminal in New Delhi.

The Hindustan Times newspaper reported Wednesday that the loss-making group, which is seeking a new government bailout, will run out of cash in the next few months and be unable to pay staff after March.