The CAG on Monday rapped Air India for spending over Rs 17 crore on allowances and hotel expenses for pilots and cabin crew from Mumbai to operate Dreamliner planes though most of the flights originated from Delhi.
The government audit body said the national carrier had "failed to increase the proportion of crew stationed in Delhi during 2011-12 and 2012-13 even as the proportion of flights from Delhi increased significantly, leading to additional deadhead expenditure of Rs 17.17 crore in positioning Mumbai-based crew in Delhi."
In a report tabled in Parliament today, the Comptroller and Auditor General also said that the seats on which the cabin crew travelled "were not available for passengers, resulting in lower revenue generation particularly for a busy route like Mumbai-Delhi-Mumbai".
As on June last year, "all flights of the newly- inducted Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft were to originate from Delhi, 42 per cent of the cabin crew staff trained for its operation were based in Mumbai," the report said.
It said Air India "accepted" that though the number of flights from Delhi "increased substantially", the corresponding number of crew stationed in Delhi had "not increased to the required level."
Air India also told the CAG that majority of the crew trained for the Boeing 787s were from Mumbai due to availability of training facilities and infrastructure there and "decision of previous management to train cabin crew based on criteria which was primarily seniority and availability".
Observing that some deadhead cost could be necessary to meet operational exigencies, the CAG said this situation and the resultant additional cost of Rs 17.17 crore was "avoidable" as it had occurred due to crew shortage in Delhi vis-a-vis Mumbai, even as the international hub had shifted to the national capital.