GoAir has suspended its international operations and has begun terminations of contractual empoyees. These would be the first lot of job losses in the Indian airline industry citing the impact of COVID-19 on revenues.
One of the letters sent by the airline to an employee on March 16 says, "we are unable to operate on the scale we presently were and have been forced to scale down the operations to be able to sustain this decline…. In view of the above, we are constrained to terminate your contract effective March 17 ... your full and final settlement would be done in due course.
Citing "unprecedented" decline in air travel, the budget carrier has announced suspension of international operations and offering of leave without pay programme for its staff on a rotational basis.
"In view of the current situation, GoAir has been forced to terminate the contracts of expat pilots, which is in line with the reduced international capacity," a GoAir spokesperson said in a statement.
However, the spokesperson did not respond to a query on the number of expat pilots whose contracts have been terminated.
GoAir is forced to temporarily suspend all its international operations (Dammam, Kuwait, Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bangkok, Phuket and Male) starting March 17 until April 15. No sooner the situation improves, GoAir will reinstate these flights and operate at the earliest opportunity," the statement said.
It also said that airlines across the world have taken drastic measures to handle this "extraordinary situation", referring to the coronavirus pandemic.