SpiceJet’s pilots to go sans April, May salaries

By: |
April 30, 2020 2:40 AM

The lockdown, which is currently in place till May 3, is likely to get extended in most parts of the country. Passenger flights are unlikely to resume in full swing anytime soon.

The move comes after passenger flights have been suspended for a month amid a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. (File image)The move comes after passenger flights have been suspended for a month amid a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. (File image)

India’s second largest carrier SpiceJet will not be paying its pilots salaries for April and May, SpiceJet’s chief of flight operations Gurcharan Arora has told employees. Pilots who have been operating cargo flights, however, will be paid for the number of hours flown.

The move comes after passenger flights have been suspended for a month amid a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Cash-strapped SpiceJet had introduced pay cuts from March. Currently, 20% of the airline’s pilots are flying and 200 pilots have flown over 550 flights since March 2020. “Over the coming weeks we intend to increase the number of aircraft flying (cargo + cargo on seat) to more than 50% and the number of pilots flying to 100%,” Arora said.

The airline, which is currently using 16% of its aircraft to operate cargo flights, intends to increase the cargo operations over the coming weeks, Arora has told employees. “Our rostering team will ensure that all of us get to fly these aircraft… The company management team is working to ensure that all our jobs are protected and we are ready to ramp up operations,” Arora wrote in an email to employees.

SpiceJet already introduced a 10-30% pay cut for most of its staff and sent its employees on unpaid leave for the duration of the lockdown. “We are geared up and ready to appropriately increase our flights in harmony with the gradual lifting of flight restrictions by the government,” Arora said. There is little clarity on how the pay structure for other staff members will be altered for the coming few months. The company has reportedly asked crew members to go on unpaid leave from June.

Meanwhile, competitor IndiGo last week decided to reverse its decision to cut the salaries of most of its employees “in deference to (the) government’s wishes of not reducing pay during lockdown.”

The lockdown, which is currently in place till May 3, is likely to get extended in most parts of the country. Passenger flights are unlikely to resume in full swing anytime soon.

Airlines across the globe have introduced cost-cutting measures in the wake of skeletal operations amid the pandemic. British Airways, for instance, announced plans to let go of around 12,000 employees in the wake of the crisis, which has dealt a severe blow to the aviation sector.

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