Air India suspends contract of 200 pilots as coronavirus continues its blows over aviation

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Published: April 2, 2020 3:43:58 PM

National carrier Air India has temporarily suspended the contracts of around 200 pilots as the coronavirus outbreak continues to take toll on the aviation industry.

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National carrier Air India has temporarily suspended the contracts of around 200 pilots as the coronavirus outbreak continues to take toll on the aviation industry. The 200 pilots were re-employed after retirement and their contracts were suspended because the country has put restrictions on all domestic and international commercial passenger flights till 14 April to curb the coronavirus pandemic, a senior official said, PTI reported. The same has dealt a massive blow to the revenues of airlines. Other domestic airlines such as IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir have also been taking measures to cut costs.

Earlier, budget carrier SpiceJet returned five of its wet-leased Boeing 737 aircraft to Turkey’s Corendon Airlines. The airline attributed cost-cutting for the move. Others such as GoAir have announced pay cuts for its employees. “Under the current conditions, we find ourselves in we are left with no choice but to extend salary cuts for all of us for the month of March. We will ensure that the lowest pay grades suffer the least,” Vinay Dube, CEO, GoAir, said recently. The airline had also retrenched its expat employees. India’s biggest airline by passengers carried — IndiGo — had also announced salary cuts for its top management with CEO Ronojoy Dutta bearing a 25% cut in the salary.

Aviation is one of the worst hit industries in the country as the government put travel bans. According to a report, two of India’s major airlines IndiGo and SpiceJet alone are staring at losses to the tune of $1.25-1.50 billion across Q4FY20 to Q1FY21 due to outbreak, aviation consultancy firm CAPA said, adding that the impact could be “so severe that even the stronger carriers may not be immune.” Another report had said that the aviation industry is one of the worst hit sectors in the country, according to a recent FICCI report. However, other sectors such as retail, hospitality and tourism are also expecting major revenue losses. 

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