Days after its flight operations took a hit following a mass leave by its cabin crew, and concerned over growing discontent over continued salary cuts, IndiGo – the country’s largest airlines – has raised pilot salaries by “another 8 per cent”; and also reinstated their overtime allowance to pre-Covid levels.
Effective salaries are still lower than pre-Covid levels though.
In order to further increase aircraft utilisation, the company is reinstating a work pattern for pilots under which pilots will earn more, but there will be fewer leaves, a letter from the IndiGo management to its employees say.
IndiGo at present has 1,600 daily departures – higher than what it was operating during pre-Covid times.
“A further reinstatement of 8 per cent of salaries for all our pilots will be implemented effective August 1. This would effectively mean that, next month onwards, a total of 16 per cent of the salaries compared with pre-Covid would be reinstated. We would also be reinstating 30 per cent of sector pay.... would revert to pre-Covid level,” the letter accessed by BusinessLine said.
IndiGo had announced a 28 per cent pay cut for pilots in 2020 and it was partially reversed in April. The airline has also reinstated layover and deadhead allowances for pilots from July 31.
Discontent over pay cuts
IndiGo employees have been unhappy with deep pay cuts that were taken during the pandemic.
On July 2, nearly 900 of the company’s flights (55 per cent) were delayed with large number of cabin crew members reporting sick. According to reports, crew members went for job interviews elsewhere, hampering the airline’s operations; however, other airlines rejected this saying no interviews were conducted on that day. Observers say the leaves were more as a silent protest by the cabin crew.
The leaves also impacted IndiGo’s on time performance on July 3 when 30 per cent of its flights were delayed.
In April, the airlines faced its first such discontent as pilots went on mass sick leave. The carrier reacted by suspending some for “violating terms of employment and company”.
The company’s CEO, Ronojoy Dutta, during a recent analyst call acknowledged that the sector is going through inflationary environment,and IndiGo was witnessing “a very difficult period” that first included pay cuts and then “not full restoration of pay”. “We want to do the right thing for them, we’d love to give them more pay raises... but our head has to work in terms of, let’s be profitable,” he had said.