From mid-June, Air India stopped serving any meat to its passengers in economy class on domestic sectors. On Monday, the airline said the decision was made to reduce wastage, reduce cost and improve catering service, News18 reported.
Earlier, Air India’s economy passengers had the option between vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, which they do not have anymore. However, meat will still be served to those flying business or first class.
“We have decided to serve vegetarian meals in our economy-class seats on domestic flights,” Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani told The Hindu. “It also eliminates the possibility of mix-up: a non-veg meal getting served to a vegetarian passenger, as it had happened a few times in the past.”
A senior airline official told the newspaper that the decision will save Air India around Rs 8 crore annually. The airline now spends around Rs 400 crore annually on catering for its domestic and international flights.
Another Air India official told The Hindu that the number of passengers opting for vegetarian meals has risen, because of which the meals with meat are often wasted. “Also, we run short of vegetarian meals, leading to complaints. So we decided to serve only vegetarian meals in certain sectors,” the official said.
The report added that in 2016, the airline had stopped serving meat to economy class passengers on flights that were under 90 minutes.
The decision comes even as the central government has decided to privatise the airline. Air India is saddled with a debt of around Rs 46,500 crore, and the state-owned carrier has not made any profit in the last decade. IndiGo had expressed interest in buying the airline, though it said it was not interested in a joint venture with the government.