Air India

Chairman and Managing Director Air India, Ashwani Lohani (C) stands with the pilots and crew members of an all-women Air India, Delhi - San Francisco - Delhi flight as they pose for a photograph during an event on the eve of International Women's Day in New Delhi on March 7, 2017. A non-stop all-women flight from Delhi to San Franscisco travelled via the Pacific Ocean and returned via the Atlantic Ocean, completing a round trip of the world with 16 crew members and 250 passengers on-board. (Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI — Cash-starved Air India is putting its crew on a diet, changing their in-flight menu to special low-fat meals.

Dhananjay Kumar, the state-run airline’s spokesman, said Sept. 18 that the objective is to provide healthy and cost-effective meals to crews on domestic and international flights.

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

The new menu was introduced Sept. 16 on flights originating from New Delhi and Mumbai and will be extended to other routes soon.

“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,” an airline statement said.

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.

In 2009, the airline 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.

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