National carrier Air India has temporarily suspended contracts of around 200 pilots, who were re-employed after retirement, a report said. The decision was taken as all domestic and international passenger flights in the country have been grounded due to the nationwide lockdown in the face of coronavirus pandemic. This has led to a significant decline in the revenues of the debt-laden airline.
"Since almost all the planes have been grounded and the carrier's revenues have taken a significant fall during the last few weeks, the airline has decided to temporarily suspend the contract of around 200 pilots who were re-employed after their retirement," a senior official told news agency PTI.
Air India has already reduced allowances of all its employees by 10 per cent, except cabin crew, for the next three months to pare revenue losses in time of coronavirus outbreak. Earlier today, the airline announced that it has disbursed flying allowances for January to it pilots.
On Thursday, the airline secured contracts with Germany, France, Ireland and Canada to repatriate their citizens on commercial charter flights, informed Air India CMD Rajiv Bansal. Air India has got approval from Indian and Chinese authorities for operating cargo flights to Shanghai and Hong Kong to get medical supplies, Bansal added. He said the cargo coming from China will contain medical supplies.
Air India is also planning to conduct multiple special flights to London between April 4 and April 7 to fly out foreigners stranded in the country amid the lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus. The flights will be operated on Delhi-London routes and Delhi-Mumbai routes. These flights, however, will not bring back Indians on their way.
According to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, there are 1,764 active cases of coronavirus in India, and the pneumonia-causing disease has caused 50 deaths in the country so far.
(With PTI inputs)