Disinvestment-bound regional carrier Alliance Air will hold a Board meeting on September 16 to restore pilots’ salaries to pre-pandemic levels, CEO Vineet Sood said on Friday.
Sood issued the email yesterday evening after a significant number of pilots went on strike during the day on the issue of salaries’ restoration, forcing the airline to cancel many flights.
“Your concerns are well noted, and I empathise with you. It has been a very difficult and turbulent past 2.5 years for all of us and the aviation fraternity at large, which has not only affected us financially but has also drained us out emotionally,” Sood said.
During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian carriers had cut the salaries of their employees to reduce their losses. This year, while many of them have restored the salaries, a few are yet to do so.
“Difficult decisions have been taken in these distressed times, which I strongly believe were necessary to keep us afloat and I am proud that all of you have contributed towards the cause and that is the reason Alliance Air has survived and is on a gradual path to recovery,” Sood noted.
However, the airline is still in losses, despite various measures it has taken to improve the financial health of the company, he mentioned.
Despite all odds, the CEO said, he has ensured that monthly salary is paid on the 1st of every month consistently to generate the required confidence in employees.
After the disinvestment of Air India to the Tata Group last year, Alliance Air is the sole carrier left with the central government. The Centre is preparing to also sell Alliance Air to a private player.
“With respect to salary restoration, we have already reinstated salary partially in the month of April 2022 and are considering further restoration of salary from September 2022 onwards for which the Board meeting is scheduled on September 16, 2022,” Sood said.
He said this is a financial decision and requires approval of the Board.
“We are relentlessly working for a positive outcome,” he added.
The CEO suggested that one pilot representing every base can collectively meet him on Monday as it would help him un understand their concerns.
“In the meantime, I take this opportunity to request you all that there should not be any flight disruptions due to crew availability with immediate effect, which can lead to our collective effort being unrecognised and can jeopardise the future of the company. In addition, it will have widespread repercussions and would lead to a negative image for Alliance Air,” he added.