National carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines has grounded 30 of its cabin crew members for being overweight.
All grounded cabin crew members were asked to meet the minimum physical fitness standard by December this year, otherwise strict action will be taken against them in January next year.
Of the grounded crew, all except three are female, and they are aged below 35.
In September, Biman conducted medical check-ups and identified them as physically unfit to fly by virtue of being overweight.
Later, the national carrier decided to ground them. However, despite being grounded, each crew member is paid $1,500 per month as salary.
When contacted, Md Mokabbir Hossain, managing director and CEO of the national carrier confirmed the matter, saying that Biman has been suffering from a shortage of cabin crew due to a significant number of them being grounded.
"We will recruit new cabin crew soon because new aircraft are being added to our fleet," he said.
Moreover, Biman is going to extend its flights, which will require more cabin crew, he added.
Biman cabin crew seem reluctant to keep fit because they get paid even if they don't fly, said a senior Biman executive.
As a result, Biman has decided to take action against those who do not meet the minimum required physical fitness to fly, he added.
At present, Biman has 467 cabin crew members, which is not enough for the fleet. It will go for a massive recruitment spree as the number of aircraft in its fleet has increased. Currently, 79 new cabin crew members are being trained to join the fleet.
The minimum height for an air hostess is 5ft 3 inches, and minimum weight is calculated following the Body Mass Index, according to Biman.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines is set to relaunch a direct flight from Dhaka to Manchester, a major city in the UK, from January 4 next year.
The national carrier has also decided to start Dhaka-Medina flights from October 28.
The inclusion of four new Dreamliner aircraft prompted Biman to offer flights to these new destinations.
Biman has more route extension plans because three more Dash-8 planes will be added to its fleet soon.
Currently, Biman operates flights to 23 destinations with a fleet of 16 aircraft.