New Delhi, Jul 20 (efe-epa).- Indian low-cost airline IndiGo announced on Monday that it was set to lay off around 10 percent of its total workforce due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has drastically reduced air transport in the country despite air traffic gradually resuming since June.
“After carefully assessing and reviewing all possible scenarios, it is clear that we will need to bid a painful adieu to 10 per cent of our workforce,” IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta said in a press statement.
He said that cost-cutting measures such as pay cuts and leave without pay had not been enough to compensate for the loss in revenues.
“It is impossible for our company to fly through this economic storm without making some sacrifices, in order to sustain our business operations,” Dutta said,.
The announcement could mean the sacking of around 2,350 of the total 23,531 registered employees of the airline in 2019, according to its latest annual report for the financial year 2018-2019.
The CEO emphasized that this was the first time in the history of the airline that it was being forced to take “such a painful measure,” in a “very unfortunate turn of events from the optimistic growth trajectory we had carved out for ourselves just six months ago.”
The company has suffered severe losses since the Indian government suspended all passenger air traffic in the country in March, just before announcing a strict lockdown for the country’s 1.3 billion inhabitants in order to check the spread of the new coronavirus.
The airline has been unable to return to normal operations even though domestic flights – IndiGo’s main market that accounts for 63 of its total 87 destinations – have gradually resumed since the beginning of June, days before lockdown measures were eased.
Although the Indian government on Friday announced the establishment of “travel bubbles” with countries such as the United States and France to resume international flights, it could be long before the aviation sector of the country recovers its normal operations.
“Even now, IndiGo is flying only a small percentage of its full fleet of 250 airplanes,” Dutta said.
After the announcement, IndiGo stocks lost around 2 percent of their value at the National Stock Exchange in Mumbai.
India had registered nearly 1.12 million Covid-19 cases and around 27,500 deaths by Monday, being the third-worst affected country by the pandemic behind the US and Brazil. EFE-EPA