The national air carrier Air India has decided that it will no longer serve non-vegetarian food to travellers in the Economy class in domestic flights. In a statement issued, the national flier said in a statement that the decision has been taken to reduce wastage, reduce cost and improve catering service. “Air India has taken a conscious decision not to have non-veg meals in economy class on its domestic flights,” Air India said in a statement.

The decision is likely to benefit Air India in terms of annual savings of up to Rs 8 crore. Air India is currently spending nearly Rs 400 crore on catering on its domestic and international flights every year.

However, non-vegetarian meals will be served in the business and executive class both on domestic as well as on international flights. Air India said that the decision will also avoid a mix-up of vegetarian food with non-vegetarian meals as “it had happened a few times in the past.” There was uproar on a Shanghai-Delhi-Mumbai flight of Air India after some passengers had complained that they had been served non-vegetarian food despite having listed vegetarian food as their preferred choice.

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Secretary-general of Air Passengers Association of India Mahesh Y Reddy said that the air carrier should not take such measures. “A full-service carrier like Air India should not resort to such a measure. Even a low-cost carrier gives the passengers their food options. Air India should have conducted a passenger survey before taking this drastic step, and it should immediately withdraw the decision,” Reddy has been quoted in The Hindu.

Air India had stopped serving non-vegetarian food to economy class travellers on flights lasting up to 90 minutes. It had also stopped serving tea and coffee in the lunch and dinner menus to reduce its cost-cutting. However, it had up till now allowed non-vegetarian meals as an option on all domestic flights exceeding 90 minutes.

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