COVID-19 impact | Air India to send certain employees on leave without pay for up to 5 years

COVID-19 impact | Air India to send certain employees on leave without pay for up to 5 years

The aviation sector has been significantly impacted due to travel restrictions imposed in India and other countries due to the coronavirus pandemic

Government-owned Air India has commenced the process of identifying staff, based on various factors like efficiency, health and redundancy, who will be sent on compulsory leave without pay for a period of up to five years, according to an official order.

The order, on July 14, said Chairman and Managing Director Rajiv Bansal has been authorised by the airline’s board of directors to send employees on LWP “for six months or for a period of two years extendable up to five years, depending upon the following factors – suitability, efficiency, competence, quality of performance, health of the employee, an instance of non-availability of the employee for duty in the past as a result of ill-health or otherwise and redundancy”.

The order stated that each employee will be assessed on the aforementioned factors and identify cases where option of compulsory LWP can be exercised by the departmental heads in the headquarters as well as regional directors.

The aviation sector has been significantly impacted due to travel restrictions imposed in India and other countries due to the coronavirus pandemic. All airlines in India have taken cost-cutting measures such as pay cuts, LWP and firings of employees in order to conserve cash flow.

For example, GoAir has put most of its employees on compulsory LWP since April.

India resumed domestic passenger flights from May 25 after a gap of two months. However, airlines have been allowed to operate only a maximum of 45 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic flights. Occupancy rate in Indian domestic flights has been around 50-60 per cent since May 25.

Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23.

The passenger demand for air travel will contract by 49 per cent in 2020 for Indian carriers in comparison to 2019 due to COVID-19 crisis, said global airlines body IATA on Monday.

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