SpiceJet has decided to place certain pilots on leave without pay (LWP) for a period of three months in a temporary measure to rationalise cost, the airline company said in a statement on Tuesday.
This measure, SpiceJet said is in line with the company’s policy of not retrenching any employee which the airline steadfastly followed even during the peak of the Covid pandemic, and will help rationalize the pilot strength vis-à-vis the aircraft fleet.
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 program 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, the release further read.
“We will be inducting MAX aircraft shortly and these pilots will be back in service as the induction begins,” SpiceJet noted.
During the LWP period, pilots will remain eligible for all other employee benefits as applicable, that is all opted insurance benefits and employee leave travel, it added.
The company will have a sufficient number of pilots to operate its full schedule as and when the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) restriction on flights is lifted even after placing certain pilots on leave without pay, SpiceJet said in its statement.
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 told PTI.