Seeking to fly high in a high-cost environment, Indian and foreign airlines are taking innovative measures to cut their expenses, including a greater emphasis on hiring of supposedly lower-weighing female cabin crew.
Human resource experts also believe that a better retention rate is also a key reason behind the recruitment of female staff members, while other cost-optimisation measures include cutting on the size and weight of in-flight items like magazines, cutlery and food items.
An overall lighter weight helps an aircraft save on its fuel costs during its take-off, landing as well as during the flying time.
"The airline industry in India is facing severe cost pressure, hence companies take all possible steps to streamline their operations and improve efficiency to protect their bottom-line," Randstad India President (Staffing) and Director (Marketing) Aditya Narayan said.
He further noted that "we expect such measures adopted by companies to be temporary and are taken in correlation to the volatile business environment."
According to executive search firm GlobalHunt Director Sunil Goel: "Recruiting largely for female cabin crew, for reasons that they find higher retention policies and comparatively some cost advantages, as they have more availability of female crew than male, so here 'heavier' may be defined not only the body weight but also the cost weight."
Meanwhile, experts believe that male cabin crews are "unfortunate" victims of the falling rupee, which has slipped over 10 per cent in the last one month and has added to the fuel and other costs of the carriers.
The rupee on June 26 sank to an all-time low of 60.76 against the dollar on heavy capital outflows and month-end demand from importers.
"The current business environment presents various challenges to companies and they have to take decisions to overcome them. In such scenarios companies have to take measures to realign their workforce keeping in mind employee aspirations and company objectives," Randstad's Narayan said .