India’s GoAir airline has decided to employ only lightweight female attendants, saying it will boost fuel efficiency and reduce the overall weight aboard their aircraft, The Times of India reports.
GoAir CEO Giorgio De Roni told the paper the company is exploring ways to maintain profits amid falling exchange rates that cost the company about Rs. 30 crore annually.
"The rupee's fall has hurt the industry badly. All major expenses — aircraft leasing, spare parts and fuel costs — are linked to the dollar. We are looking at every possible way of cost-cutting to remain profitable," De Roni told the Times.
Currently, 40 percent of GoAir’s 330 cabin crew members are male, and although they would not be sacked, the budget airline company has decided to recruit only female flight attendants henceforth as they are generally much lighter than their male counterparts.
TOI pointed out that GoAir expects to save somewhere between Rs. 2.5 crore and Rs. 3 crore annually, by employing airhostesses who weigh 15 kg to 20 kg less than male fight pursers. The company expects to add about 80 aircraft, and another 2,000 female cabin crew members in the next seven years.
GoAir also plans to reduce the size of their inflight magazines and the water tanks in their flights will only be filled 60 percent, as only 40 percent of the water is generally used, according to TOI.
Reacting to GoAir’s future plans, a former executive director of another Indian airline told Firstpost that eliminating male flight attendants is not a practical idea.
“There are umpteen number of things an airline can do to reduce weight. For example, it can reduce the weight of food and water that is carried on board, use lighter cutlery, uplift only as much fuel as is necessary depending on flight duration, etc.
“GoAir uses Airbus 320 fleet which means it would have, on an average, four crew members per domestic flight. If even one of them is male, does it make such a huge difference to aircraft weight?”
Keerthi Mohan is an IBTimes reporter covering entertainment and human interest stories.