Air India is putting its crew on a low-fat diet to possibly save money

NEW DELHI — Imagine being put on a mandatory diet by your boss. Not exactly your idea of a fun team-building initiative, right?

But for Air India’s flight attendants, this waist-trimming mandate is very much a reality now that the carrier has announced a new “low fat diet meal” for its in-flight crew.

Dhananjay Kumar, the state-run airline’s spokesman, said Wednesday that the objective is to provide healthy and cost-effective meals to crews on domestic and international flights.

The new menu was introduced Monday on flights originating from New Delhi and Mumbai and will be extended to other routes soon.

Kumar declined to comment on media reports that the cost per meal (mostly vegetarian) will reduce to one-third of the current 500-800 rupees (up to $11) per meal.

Instead, an airline statement said that the “special low-fat diet meals have been worked out on a day-wise basis in order to provide light and healthy meal with a home (Indian) touch.”

The decision comes at a time when the Indian government is trying to divest from Air India, which has debts of nearly 580 billion rupees ($8 billion). After an earlier failed attempt to sell the airline off last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is expected to try again in October.

This is not the first time Air India has faced backlash over its views on weight and fitness. In 2009, it fired 10 air hostesses for being overweight after they failed to get back in shape three years after they were switched to ground crew jobs.

With file from The Associated Press

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