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SpiceJet sends 80 pilots on unpaid leave for 3 months to trim costs

The past four years have seen losses for the airline. Additionally, it is now flying less than 50% of flights as a result of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation's (DGCA) directive on July 27 in response to a string of mishaps.

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New Delhi: SpiceJet has placed about 80 pilots on unpaid leave for three months in order to save costs.

The past four years have seen losses for the airline. Additionally, it is now flying less than 50% of flights as a result of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) directive on July 27 in response to a string of mishaps.

Although the airline has over 90 planes in its inventory, it only uses about 50 of them daily to perform flights.

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According to sources, the airline has placed roughly 40 B737 and 40 Q400 pilots on three-month leaves of absence without pay.

Following the grounding of the B737 MAX planes, SpiceJet claimed in a statement that it had taken delivery of more than 30 aircraft in 2019.

The airline said it has made the interim decision to put some pilots on leave without pay for a three-month period in order to rationalise costs.

“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-à-vis the aircraft fleet,” it said.

The financially troubled airline announced that it will soon begin introducing additional MAX aircraft, and these pilots will return to duty at that time.

In FY19, FY20, FY21, and FY22, consecutively, SpiceJet had net losses of Rs 316 crore, Rs 934 crore, Rs 998 crore, and Rs 1,725 crore.

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Ajay Singh, the chairman and managing director of the carrier, had previously stated that the airline would soon begin working with investment bankers to raise up to $200 million.

SpiceJet said: “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.”

Even after placing certain pilots on leave without pay, SpiceJet will have sufficient numbers of pilots to operate its full schedule as and when the DGCA restriction on flights is lifted, it added.

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