SpiceJet places nearly 80 pilots on leave without pay for 3 months
In a temporary measure to rationalise cost, airline SpiceJet has decided to place nearly 80 pilots on leave without pay for a period of three months
In a temporary measure to rationalise cost, airline SpiceJet has decided to place nearly 80 pilots on leave without pay for a period of three months.
"This measure, which is in line with SpiceJet's policy of not retrenching any employee which the airline steadfastly followed even during the peak of the Covid pandemic, will help rationalise the pilot strength vis-a-vis the aircraft fleet," said a Spicejet spokesperson.
SpiceJet had, in 2019, inducted more than 30 aircraft following the grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft. The airline had continued with its planned pilot induction programme in the hope that the MAX would be back in service soon. However, the prolonged grounding of the MAX fleet resulted in a large number of excess pilots at SpiceJet.
"We will be inducting MAX aircraft shortly and these pilots will be back in service as the induction begins. During the LWP period, pilots will remain eligible for all other employee benefits as applicable i.e. all opted insurance benefits and employee leave travel," said the spokesperson.
Earlier Tuesday, a section of pilots went into a tizzy over the decision of the financially-embattled airline.
"The financial crisis of the airline was known to us but the suddenness of the decision has shocked many of us. There is also uncertainty about the company's financial situation after three months. There is no assurance if those forced to go on leave will even be called back," a pilot said
According to serving and former SpiceJet employees, this is the first time the airline has sent pilots on forced leave in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"However, expat pilots were sacked in the wake of the pandemic while cabin crew has been sent on LWP more than once since 2020. Salary cuts have also been there," a former SpiceJet employee, who quit last year, said.
Even after placing certain pilots on leave without pay, SpiceJet will have sufficient number of pilots to operate its full schedule as and when the DGCA restriction on flights is lifted, the airline said.
SpiceJet had earlier reported a net loss of Rs 789 crore (Rs 420 crore excluding forex adjustment) for the quarter ending June 30, 2022 as compared to a net loss of Rs 729 crore in the quarter ending June 30, 2021 as business was severely impacted by record high fuel prices and a depreciating rupee.
Total revenue for the reported quarter was Rs 2,478 crore as against Rs 1,266 crore in the same quarter of the previous year. For the same comparative period, operating expenses were Rs 3,267 crore as against Rs 1,995 crore. On an EBITDA basis, loss was Rs 379 crore for the reported quarter as against a loss of Rs 244 crore for the quarter ended June FY2022. The airline continued to add new destinations to its network.
Aviation regulator DGCA, in July-end, ordered SpiceJet to operate only 50 per cent of its flights for eight weeks.