New Delhi [India], April 16 (ANI): The aviation industry is posing a bleak picture in India as lakhs of people stare at job cuts due to COVID-19. As per fresh data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), around 20 lakh aviation professionals' jobs are at risk in India.
"Passenger revenue in India is expected to fall by more than USD 8.8 billion and passenger demand is expected to decline by 36 per cent. This puts over 2 million jobs at risk including sectors that are dependent on aviation," the IATA said.
"The priority for the Indian government is to ensure that airlines have sufficient cash flow to tide them over this period, by providing direct financial support, facilitating loans, loan guarantees, and support for the corporate bond market. Taxes, levies, and airport and aeronautical charges for the industry should also be fully or partially waived," Albert Tjoeng, Assistant Director, Corporate Communications - Asia Pacific, IATA told ANI.
Due to lockdown, flight operations - domestic and international - have been shut in India from March 25 to May 3.
Recently, several private airlines have announced a salary cut policy during the lockdown situation.
A Vistara release said, "The extension of lockdown and suspension of our services till May 3, 2020, will impact our cash flow significantly. As part of a number of steps that we are taking to conserve cash and save costs, we have to make the difficult decision of further reducing our staff cost with the objective of preserving jobs for the period between April 15 to 30."
"About 30 per cent of the Vistara workforce will take compulsory no-pay leave of 1-3 days depending on employment grades (3 days for senior-most employees). This decision does not impact the remainder 70 per cent of Vistara staff," the release added.
GoAir has also announced a salary cut of its staff and sent some percentage of staff on leave without pay.
Further IATA said on passenger decline worldwide that, "Airlines globally are now facing an existential crisis as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. We are now expecting a revenue loss of USD 314 billion and passenger demand to fall by 48 per cent compared to 2019. Airlines are facing a liquidity crisis, burning USD 61 billion of their cash reserves in Q2 2020," Tjoeng said.
There are challenges galore for airport ground handling employees also in India's six major airports in so far as saving their jobs are concerned.
ANI spoke to AISATS which offers end-to-end ground handling services such as passenger and baggage handling, ramp handling, aircraft interior cleaning, load control and flight operations, and cargo handling services for general, perishable, trans-shipment, express courier and special cargo at the airports.
"In these challenging times protecting our employees remains a priority. While we take measures to navigate through this situation, we will continue to do everything we can to safeguard the jobs of our people and ensure their salaries are not impacted in any significant manner.
"Thus far, a pay cut for the leadership team only has been implemented. This will be reviewed as the situation evolves. We currently have approximately 11,500 staff across our different locations that include Mumbai (CHQ), Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mangaluru and Thiruvananthapuram," the AISATS Spokesperson told ANI. (ANI)