LONDON – The CEO of Tata-Singapore Airlines’ joint venture carrier Vistara (UK), Leslie Thng, will take a 20% pay cut per month until December this year.

This comes following a joint proposal to implement a five to 20% pay cut for 40% of UK’s workforce, amounting to 1,600 workers.

Thng spoke in a email to his employees detailing such cuts and measures.

Message from Vistara CEO

“From 1st July 2020 to 31st December 2020, I will take a 20 percent pay cut and we will be implementing a monthly pay cut scheme for staff (except for pilots) as follows.”

“15 percent pay cut for staff in Level 5 and 4; 10 percent pay cut for staff in Level 3 and 2, and licensed engineers in Level 1C; 5 percent pay cut for staff in Level 1 with monthly CTC equal or more than Rs 50,000.”

“For pilots, we will continue with the reduction of monthly base flying allowance to 20 hours for July to December 2020. Allowances will also be adjusted for pilots under certain categories of training”.

Until April this year, Pilots at the airline were only getting a base allowance which was determined on 70 hours of flying per month.

New Delhi: TATA SAI Airlines Ltd. Chairman Bhaskar Bhat (2L) with Vistara CEO Leslie Thng (2R) pose for photographs during the launch of Vistara Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, in New Delhi, Monday, March 2, 2020. (PTI Photo/Ravi Choudhary)(PTI02-03-2020_000119B)

Future reductions

Vistara is currently operating less than 30% of its overall capacity due to low passenger load factors.

Thng also mentioned that this may be the new normal for employees, as he expects it to be a while before a pre-COVID-19 demand level is established.

Vistara have previously made some other announcements regarding changes such as ensuring employees will go on compulsory leave without pay for up to four days per month for May and June.

On top of this, it is understood that the aforementioned 70-hour flying base allowance will also be reduced to 20-hours per month of pay.

Suspension of international flights

The airline is still waiting for international flights to be reinstated into the country as only domestic flights have been allowed in the country since May 25.

A couple of days ago, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had issued a new circular announcing the immediate suspension of international flights to/from India until 15 July.

The government has, however, said that international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case-to case-basis.

These restrictions will not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the DGCA.

At this point, because Vistara is an Indian carrier, it will have to wait until July 15 before it can begin such operations once again.

India’s COVID-19 Recovery

However, with passenger load factors reported to be low at the airline, it does beg the question of whether the expansion back into the international market will be that significant or not.

On top of this, another extension could be applied by the Indian authorities, especially if COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

At the time of writing, India is currently averaging around 15,000-20,000 cases per day of the virus, with deaths still in the hundreds currently.

Only time will tell how authorities will act when it comes to reopening the country and whether Vistara can survive that long in due course.