MUMBAI: Budget carrier IndiGo has assured its employees that it will not make any deduction in their salaries and leaves due to the suspension of domestic flights till March 31 in the wake of coronavirus lockdown.
The assurance came a day after the Narendra Modi government issued an advisory to both private and public companies to not lay off employees or cut their salaries, in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
The government's decision to suspend domestic flight till March 31 would come into effect from midnight Tuesday, as part of larger efforts to curb spreading of coronavirus infections.
In an e-mail to his employees, IndiGo Chief executive Officer Ronojoy Dutta said the company has "reasonable" level of advanced bookings for April and it was "anxious'' to fly again albeit with a reduced capacity.
"For those who don't have to be working during this temporary suspension of operations, we will make no deduction of salaries or leaves," Dutta said in the e-mail.
He said that the airline plans to commence the domestic operations from April 1, subject to no further extension of the government order.
It may be mentioned here that global aviation consultancy CAPA on Monday said domestic air services are likely to remain suspended beyond March 31 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Later in a statement, he also said that the airline would not be charging any fee for canceling tickets that are up to April 30, and it would store the ticket price as a credit on that PNR, which can be used for alternative booking up to September 30.
According to Dutta, IndiGo has a reasonable level of forwarding bookings for April "so we are anxious to start flying again, although it will be a reduced capacity."
Stating that the last few days have been very challenging for the airline, he said "clearly for the next few weeks, our revenues will be well below our costs and we will have to make our efforts to penny-pinch and preserve cash".
He also said that as employees "let us also be acutely cognizant of the fact that during this temporary suspension of operations, we will be spending our cash reserves to continue to pay salaries and benefits."
Once this crisis is over, the airline will have to redouble its efforts to rebuild these cash reserves, Dutta added.
The coronavirus has dealt the airline a 'hands of cards' it neither ask for or anticipates, he said.
"Now it is all up to us employees to play our cards not just well but superbly to restore the full confidence of our customers and shareholders trust in us," the airline chief said.
Moreover, Dutta, in the statement also stated that those passengers who are booked to travel till September 30, can change their itinerary at zero change fee, for travel up till September 30.
The fare difference would have to be paid by the passenger during the time of alternative booking, he said.