KOLKATA: India-based budget airline company, SpiceJet, has informed its pilots that they will receive no salaries for the month of April and May. It added that only cargo-flight pilots will be paid on a per flight basis.
In a formal mail, the airline’s Chief of Flight Operations stated, “As of today, 16% of our aircraft and 20% of our pilots are flying.”
Another senior SpiceJet executive added, “Our rostering team will ensure that all onus get to fly these aircraft.”
A SpiceJet spokesperson said that the airline will be issuing a statement, later in the day.
The airline had already cut salary, laid off its expat pilots and sent its engineering staff on leave without pay, on a rotational basis. They reasoned that these drastic steps were necessary because of monumental losses they are bearing right now.
Like its peers, the airline had to ground its fleet since the middle of March, as the country went on a 40-day nationwide lockdown. Though the 2nd phase of the lockdown is expected to be lifted, at least in phases, it’s yet unclear if the government will let airlines begin operations after May 3rd, when the 2nd phase ends. Meanwhile, the airline is focusing on cargo operations as they try to navigate through these unprecedented challenges that the lockdown has presented.
“As of today, 16% of our aircraft and 20% of our pilots are flying. We are doing this by flying our five cargo aircraft and also flying more cargo on seat on our passenger aircraft,” said the Chief of Flight Operations.
Furthermore, he added, “Over the coming weeks, we intend to increase the number of aircraft flying to more than 50 percent and the number of pilots flying to 100 percent.”
The senior executive added that since March 24, more than 200 of SpiceJet pilots have flown over 550 flights. “They have carried more than 4,200 tons of essential medicines…to more than 37 destinations…”
SpiceJet recently joined the ranks of other private-sector airlines in reopening its advance ticket booking operations for flights that are set to depart from May 16. This is the 2nd time that airlines have reopened these operations, amid lockdown, after being reprimanded by the DGCA, the 1st time around. Industry insiders reassured the press saying that airlines are taking extra steps to ensure that a passenger’s flight experience remains contact-free and safe from infections.