India’s aviation industry continues to brave the impact of coronavirus pandemic despite restoration of its operations. Several domestic airlines, including IndiGo, Vistara have opted for fresh salary cuts for July in order to trim cost due to low demand and battered profits.
According to several reports, IndiGo wrote a mail to its pilots informing them of 5.5 days of leave without pay. With this, IndiGo extended the leave without pay (LWP) policy to 10 days, effective from July 1. Moreover, the Gurugram-based airline also slashed salaries of under-training transition captains and transition first officers by over 45 per cent.
In May, IndiGo initiated 20-25 per cent pay cuts for senior staff, including pilots. It also started a graded leave-without-pay programme for all its employees until July.
Apart from IndiGo, Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture Vistara announced a top-down 5-20 per cent pay cut of 40 per cent of its staff from July onwards. Vistara CEO Leslie Thng told employees in an email, “From 1st July, 2020, to 31st December 2020, I will take a 20 per cent pay cut and we will be implementing a monthly pay cut scheme for staff (except for pilots as follows): 1) 15 per cent pay cut for staff in Level 5 and 4, 2) 10 per cent pay cut for staff in Level 3 and 2, and licensed engineers in Level 1C, 3) 5 per cent pay cut for staff in Level 1 with monthly CTC equal or more than Rs 50,000”.
On May 5, Vistara announced that senior employees will have to go on compulsory leave without pay (LWP) for up to four days per month in May and June. The full-service airline sent the same set of senior employees on compulsory LWP for up to six days in April.
In addition to this, AirAsia India would continue to cut its pilot salaries by 40 per cent. AirAsia India slashed pilot salaries by 40 per cent for the months of May and June. In April, senior management at AirAsia India underwent a 20 per cent pay cut, while executives in other categories received reduced salaries of 7-17 per cent.
Wadia Group-controlled GoAir has also decided to continue its ongoing scheme of leaves without pay for over 90 per cent of its staff in July as well.
All domestic carriers resumed their services in a calibrated manner from May 25. Government halted flight operations on March 25 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, post-May 25, airlines were permitted to function up to 30 per cent of their capacity.
Besides, the union aviation ministry continues to suspend commercial international flights to and from India till July 15 as coronavirus cases rise exponentially.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has anticipated a loss of $84 billion as the coronavirus pandemic reduces revenue by half to mark the worst year in the aviation sector’s history. With most of world’s airliners currently parked, IATA said revenue would likely fall to $419 billion from $838 billion last year.