GoAir asks staff to go on leave without pay and suspends international flights over Covid-19

Image: REUTERS/Regis Duvignau
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Indian low-cost carrier GoAir today (March 17) said it has suspended all international operations in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, and asked its employees to opt for leave-without-pay on a rotational basis till April 15.

“The sharp decline in air travel that we are currently experiencing is unprecedented,” GoAir said in a statement. The airline added that its short-term and temporary rotational leave-without-pay programme will not only help the company counter the short term reduction in capacity, but will also ensure that a cross-section of our employees stays away from the workplace to ensure business continuity.

Acknowledging that this will put a financial strain on its staff, the airline said, “this decision was not taken lightly.”

The company confirmed that Indian airlines were also seeking immediate financial relief from the Narendra Modi government to battle the economic slowdown.

“We have also taken many immediate measures to make our business more efficient; measures that will help us create an even stronger airline in the long run,” it said.

Indian carriers have been forced to cancel flights to several international destinations over the recent days after the government, to contain the spread of Covid-19, imposed a ban on entry of travellers from certain countries.