With domestic and international air travel being suspended till April 14, in a bid to curtail the spread of Covid-19, airlines are tightening their purse strings in a bid to conserve cash. After India’s largest airline IndiGo announced a salary cut for its employees, it’s rival SpiceJet announced a “company-wide pay cut” for its employees for the month of March.
The airline has implemented a 10% to 30% pay cut for all its employees across top and mid-rung levels. However, it said that employees in the lowest pay grades will remain unaffected by the decision. Ajay Singh, the airline’s chairman and managing director, is taking a 30% cut in his salary.
In mid-March, IndiGo had announced salary cuts ranging between 5% and 20% for a cross section of its employees, except for those in bands A and B, which presumably are employees in the lowest pay grades. Its CEO Ronojoy Dutta said that he was taking a 25% cut in salary.
“The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown have forced us to take some tough measures to ensure that no one at SpiceJet is retrenched,” said the airline’s chairman and managing director. “What we are facing is a global phenomenon and no airline in the world is immune to the impact. Tough times don’t last, tough people do. SpiceJet was born of adversity and it is the same adversity that brings out the best in each and every one of us.”
SpiceJet also said that it was forced to announce ‘leave without pay’ for employees from March 25 to March 31s, as a result of flights being suspended. “However, employees who have been actively working during this period like our cargo, ground staff, crew who have flown during this time will not be affected by the ‘leave without pay’ and their salaries for this period will be reimbursed,” the airline said. Before the lockdown, SpiceJet operated 600 average daily flights to 63 destinations, including 54 domestic and nine international ones.
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