SpiceJet has sent around 80 pilots on a three-month leave without pay in order to rationalise costs. The airline called it a temporary measure in a statement but did not release the exact number. It said that the decision was in line with its policy of not retrenching employees.
"In a temporary measure to rationalise costs, SpiceJet has decided to place certain 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," SpiceJet said on Tuesday.
Sources have said that the pilots who have been put on the leave operate the Boeing and Q400 fleet. SpiceJet said that the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft between March 2019 and November 2020 financially impacted the airline.
SpiceJet said that it had inducted more than 30 aircraft in 2019 following the grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft. It continued with its planned pilot induction programme expecting the grounded aircraft to be back in service. “However, the prolonged grounding of the MAX fleet resulted in a large number of excess pilots at SpiceJet," it said.
It said that the MAX aircraft will be inducted shortly and the pilots will be back in service. During the period of leave without pay, the impacted pilots will continue to receive other benefits as applicable, all opted insurance benefits and employee leave travel.
The carrier has faced a spate of roadblocks in its operations in the recent past. On July 27, the Director General of Civil Aviation ordered the airline to operate only 50 per cent of its flights, following multiple air safety incidents.
The airline also added that they will have enough pilots to operate the full schedule when the DGCA restriction on flights is lifted.
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