Budget airline SpiceJet Ltd has announced a substantial hike in the salary of its pilots, raising captains' salary to ₹7.5 lakh-a-month for 75 hours of flying. The hike will be applicable from May 16, 2023.
"Salaries of trainers (DE, TRI) and first officers has also been increased commensurately," the airline said in a statement. Besides, the Gurugram-based airline has announced a tenure-linked monthly loyalty reward for its captains of up to ₹1,00,000 per month, which it said will be over and above monthly remuneration.
The current hike comes six months after the captains of the budget carrier had announced salary hikes for its captains, which was more than the pre-Covid remuneration. SpiceJet had revised their salary structure to ₹7 lakh-a-month for 80 hours of flying.
In contrast, employees at SpiceJet’s rival organisation, Air India, had protested against the new employment contracts last month. Two pilot unions at Air India had asked members to not accept the new employment contract by the Tata group-owned airline, calling their revised compensation structure as "draconian".
Air India had unveiled a new salary structure for pilots and cabin crew last month, assuring the guaranteed flying allowance component of 40 hours. This, however, is much lower than the pre-pandemic period when Air India pilots were entitled to a guaranteed 70 hours of flying.
Shares of SpiceJet Ltd, meanwhile, were up 5.75% in the opening trade today after seeing 15% on Tuesday to hit a fresh 52-week low after the budget airline said four of its grounded aircraft - two Boeing 737s and two Q400s - were expected to be operational by June 15.
Today, the stock opened marginally higher than its previous closing price of ₹24.16 and rose to the current level of ₹25.55 apiece on the NSE. At the current share price, SpiceJet’s market cap is at around ₹1,537.72 crore.
SpiceJet has witnessed a consistent drop in its market share over the past few months, primarily due to high fuel prices, repeated snags, fund crunch, and stiff competition in the local market. The Gurugram-based airline’s market share dropped to 5.8% in April from 6.4% in March, according to data released by aviation regulator DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation). However, rival Go First’s insolvency is likely to boost the market share of other budget carriers. The Wadia Group-owned cash-strapped airline’s market share stood at 6.4% in April.
Separately, the United Kingdom-based SRAM & MRAM Group this month had invested $100 million in its unit SpiceXpress and Logistics Pvt Ltd. The hiving off of the business unit from Spicejet had allowed the company to raise funds independently to reduce its existing liabilities. The MoU with SRAM & MRAM group follows a restructuring agreement with aircraft lessor Carlyle Aviation Partner effective April 1, 2023, wherein the latter picked up a stake in SpiceXpress at an anticipated future valuation of $1.5 billion or ₹12,422 crore. In February, the SpiceJet board approved the conversion of the airline’s outstanding lease liabilities to aircraft lessor Carlyle Aviation Partners into equity.