59 Air India employees opt for LWP

Earlier this year, the national carrier had revealed intentions to send some of its staff on compulsory LWP for up to five years

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Post July, when Air India had asked its senior officials to draw a list of employees who may be sent on mandatory leave without pay (LWP) for up to five years, about 59 employees have voluntarily opted for the LWP scheme. While 58 are from Air India, one employee belongs to Alliance Air Aviation.

On July 14, Air India had asked its departmental heads and regional directors to identify who could be sent on LWP, on the basis of their performance, efficiency, health and redundancy. It had also left it open to the employees to voluntary opt for the LWP scheme if they wished to.

The subsidiaries of Air India — Air India Express, Air India Engineering Services and Hotel Corporation of India have still not introduced the scheme.

Things have not been going very well for Air India for some time now. Last week, Hong Kong banned Air India from flying to its airport till October 3, after six passengers, flying from Delhi into Hong Kong tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival.

Air India has managed to accumulate a debt of around Rs 70,000 crore and its net loss in 2018-19 was estimated to be about Rs 8,500 crore.

At the beginning of 2020, the Government had initiated the process of selling it to a private entity.

With the pandemic and the lockdown, many airlines across the globe have had to downsize, send their crew on furloughs or even reduce the size of their fleet. Most experts do not expect the demand for flights to be restored to anywhere near normal before 2024.

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