India's largest airline faced major delays Saturday as cabin crew flocked to a rival's job fair, local media reports.
Less than half of IndiGo's flights ran on time on Saturday, aviation ministry data showed.
The disruption comes amid ongoing travel chaos, as airlines battle COVID staff shortages.
Over 50% of flights operated by budget Indian airline, IndiGo, were delayed on Saturday after a substantial number of staff called in sick to attend a rival airline's job fair, local outlets reported.
Just 45% of IndiGo's flights ran on time on Saturday, the ANI news agency reported, citing Ministry of Civil Aviation data.
Citing industry sources, ANI reported that many of IndiGo's staff, particularly cabin crew, took sick leave Saturday to attend a hiring fair held by Air India, the country's flagship airline.
"The second phase of Air India's recruitment process was scheduled for Saturday and most of the cabin crew members of IndiGo who took leave had gone for it," ANI cited an unnamed industry source as saying.
One IndiGo pilot who turned up for work said he waited in the aircraft for two hours for flight attendants to turn up, The Times of London reported.
IndiGo is currently India's largest airline by passenger numbers but Air India — which reportedly ran the recruitment fair — is hiring new staff and plans to buy new planes after it was purchased by the Tata Group last year.
Air India and IndiGo did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment made outside normal working hours.
One aviation expert told the Times of London that while the lack of crew likely played a role in the delays, it is unlikely the only reason so many flights were late.
"To have your operational integrity challenged in this way, to my mind, those going for walk-in interviews that day and not reporting for work would have some impact but that can't be the total picture," Kapil Kaul, chief executive of the CAPA Centre for Aviation said.
Saturday's delays come amid ongoing flight disruption across the aviation industry as airlines struggle to recruit enough staff to meet surging demand for travel.
Thousands of flights were canceled over the Fourth of July weekend in the US.
European carrier, Scandinavian Airlines, was forced to cancel hundreds of flights on Monday after pilots went on strike.
Meanwhile, British Airways, Britain's flagship carrier cancelled 1,000 more flights for the summer period on Tuesday.
Heathrow, the UK's largest airport, asked airlines to cut flights on Thursday amid fears it did not have the capacity to handle surging passenger numbers. Piles of suitcases mounted at the airport in the wake of cancellations.
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