Budget operator IndiGo presented a post-blocking plan, as domestic operators hope to fly again. CEO Ronojoy Dutta said the airline will not serve meals on flights for a while and is also reducing the airport bus service to half capacity, as it will only fill 50% of seats, PTI said. As the country was subjected to a 21-day blockade in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, domestic flight services also stopped. The government had previously suspended all domestic and international flight operations to contain the spread of the virus. It also severely impacted domestic airline revenues.
As airlines struggle to stay afloat during these difficult times, domestic carriers like IndiGo have also announced cuts in employee wages. Senior management at IndiGo, the budget company, is the first to receive a salary cut and CEO Ronojoy Dutta also receives a 25% lower salary starting this month. With revenues drying up, the airline announced salary cuts for its senior employees. “With the sharp drop in revenue, the very survival of the aviation industry is at risk,” said Ronojoy Dutta in an email to IndiGo employees in March. SpiceJet it also later announced 10 to 30% wage cuts for its employees. CMD Ajay Singh also saw a 30% cut in his March salary. As the coronavirus caused a major blow to the economy, aviation remains the industry hardest hit due to the blockade, according to a FICCI report.
Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri took stock of the situation and said that “his heart goes out” to people suffering from the coronavirus. He also assured the industry that the government will lift restrictions on flight operations once it is sure that the coronavirus situation is under control, he said in a tweet this week.