Thursday, January 01, 2015

SpiceJet Defaults on Salary Payment for 2nd Time: Report

New Delhi: Beleaguered carrier SpiceJet defaulted a second time on salary payments in last two months but got a reprieve on Wednesday from the Airports Authority of India (AAI), which extended the two-week credit payment facility to it by another 14 days.

"The airline today paid salary to a section of its employees but one section remained unpaid," airline sources said here.

Those who were not paid were middle management employees, they said, adding, "Mostly general manager and above rank executives have not yet been paid their December salary."

Over 15 percent had not received their salary on time last month as well and they were paid by the airline only late last week, that too after the intervention of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

A SpiceJet spokesperson refused to comment on the issue.

However, providing a much-needed relief to the airline, AAI extended the two-weeks credit facility to it following directions from the Civil Aviation Ministry to do so, official sources said here.

An AAI official had said on Tuesday that AAI will have to put the airline on 'pay-as-you-fly' mode if no direction comes from the government to extend the relief period.

SpiceJet owes Rs 200 crore to the state-run AAI towards landing, parking and route navigation charges.

This is the second time the ministry has come to the rescue of the cash-strapped airline, which remained grounded almost for an entire day early this month due to the paucity of funds.

The airline had on Tuesday announced on its website the move to cancel over 300 flights till January 31, 2015, which include mostly domestic flights and a few connecting Nepal and Afghanistan.

This followed cancellation of over 1,800 flights announced earlier this month by the Chennai-based carrier till Wednesday.

The airline, however, had later clarified that these were not new or incremental cancellations, but flights that were already removed from the schedule in November and December due the fleet reduction, which resulted in its daily flights reducing from 345 a day in the summer to 230 flights a day.

"The schedule will remain at the reduced level until the recapitalization of the airline is completed and aircraft added back to its fleet," Spicejet said in a statement.

SpiceJet is scheduled to operate over 7,000 flights in January, it said.


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