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Thursday, 20 January 2022 11:39 GMT

Bangladesh - 7,900 aviation jobs lost in India, ground handling jobs decline by 13,300

(MENAFN- Bangladesh Monitor)

Dhaka: Following the coronavirus pandemic, around 7,900 employees in India's aviation industry have lost jobs in the last one year. The country's Minister of State for Civil Aviation VK Singh said this while addressing the Parliament on December 3.

“Total number of employees of domestic airlines has declined from around 74,800 as on March 31, 2020 to around 66,900 as on March 31, 2021, a decline of over 7,900 employees,” the minister said.

Ground handling staff

Total number of employees in ground handling has declined by 13,300 in the same period. The workforce is down from around 38,300 to around 25,040.

Cargo is the winner

Cargo has seen an increase. The total number of employees in cargo has increased from around 9,550 to around 9,930, an increase of around 380 employees.

Despite the pandemic, cargo is expected to recover to above pre-Covid levels. Domestic cargo is expected to increase by 43.0% year on year in FY2022 to 1,361,615 tonnes while international cargo is projected to grow 35.9% year on year to 2,068,224 tonnes, noted CAPA.

Salary cuts

While no salary cuts have been enforced for Air India employees drawing wages less than RS 25,000 per month, pilots have seen a reduction of flying allowances, subject to a minimum 20 hours flying in a month.

For pilots in Air India Express, there has been a 40 per cent reduction in allowances of pilots. Flying allowance has also seen a 35 per cent reduction.

All cabin crew has seen a 20 per cent reduction in their domestic layover allowance.

For Alliance Air Aviation, commanders and co-pilots have seen a reduction in flying allowance, while expat pilots have had to undergo a 40 per cent salary cut. Ground staff has seen their salaries decline by 5 per cent.

Indigo: In 2021, pay cuts ranging from 2.5 per cent to 48 per cent were implemented for employees in managerial levels and above. Most of which have already been restored by now.

Air Asia: Salary cuts were implemented for employees drawing salary higher thjan RS 50,000 per month. The salary cuts have now been removed.

Passenger numbers

The DGCA said total passengers carried by domestic airlines has grown 26 per cent on year with over 6.20 core being carried from January to October 2021 as against over 4.93 crore in the same period a year ago.

Govt initiative

Indian airlines are expected to incur losses worth USD 3.5-4 billion. The airlines would need continuous flow of capital, including fund infusion of USD 1 billion during the October-March period, to overcome these losses.

CAPA India had earlier forecast Indian airlines to fly between 08 crore to 9.5 crore passengers domestically in the current financial year ending March 2022.

In 2021, the government allowed airlines to access funds through emergency credit guarantee loan scheme introduced by the finance ministry in the aftermath of the pandemic. The scheme lets airlines borrow a certain amount from their banks with a government guarantee backing the loan.

The Airports Authority of India has also reduced the rate of interest it charges airlines on delayed airline payments from 12 per cent to 10 per cent.

Besides, the government has taken several steps to strengthen the aviation industry keeping in view the safety and health of the passengers, said Singh in parliament, which include:

  • Adoption of Covid protocols, use of protective gear, contact less passenger handling processes like 100 per cent online check-in, submission of self-declaration forms and self-baggage drop etc.
  • Benefits under emergency credit line guarantee scheme (ECLGS) 3.0 extended to civil aviation sector.
  • Exclusive air-links or air bubbles have been established with 31 countries.
  • AAI has taken up development of new airports and expansion/upgradation of existing airports at around RS 25,000 crores in the next 4-5 years which includes expansion and modification of existing terminals, expansion or strengthening of existing runways, aprons, airport navigation services, control towers, technical blocks etc.
  • Three public private partnership airports at Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru have undertaken major expansion plan.
  • Government of India has accorded“in-principle” approval for setting up of 21 greenfield airports across the country.
  • A conducive aircraft leasing and financing environment has been enabled.
  • The domestic capacity of the airlines has been restored to full effect from October 18, 2021, as in pre-Covid times.
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