Air India, India’s national carrier, has grounded 30 women and 4 men among its cabin crew for being overweight, the civil aviation ministry said in reply to a query.

The grounded crew, however, comprises only 1% its total cabin crew strength of 3,490.

Air India said it grounds its cabin staff when they exceed 27 in terms of body mass index.

Body mass index is calculated on the basis of a person’s weight and his height.

For example, someone with a height of 5 ft 6 inch — which is usual for female cabin crew in India — can go all the way up to 76 kg before hitting the 27 BMI limit.

The limit applies equally to men and women.

According to guidelines issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation of India, cabin crew should have a body mass index of 22 or below, which would imply a maximum weight of 62 kg for a person with a height of 5 ft and 6 inch.

“Air India provides opportunity to their cabin crew to reduce their weight. Therefore, cabin crew with 27 & above BMI are grounded to reduce weight.Once they come back below 27 BMI, they are taken back for flying duties,” the ministry, which has administrative oversight of Air India, said.

The airline, which operates 450 flights per day, has been seen its market share shrink steadily in the face of rising competition from private players in the country.

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