Cash-strapped budget airline SpiceJet is set to lay off 1,400 employees, nearly 15% of its workforce, to cut costs and retain investor interest. The airline currently has 9,000 employees and operates about 30 planes. Of these, eight are wet-leased from foreign carriers, along with crew and pilots.
SpiceJet confirmed the job losses.
“This is to ensure an alignment of companywide costs as against operational requirements,” a spokesperson said.
Staff cuts have become necessary because of the carrier’s ₹60 crore salary bill, said people with knowledge of the matter.
“People have already started getting calls,” said one of them, referring to the terminations. SpiceJet has been delaying salary payments for several months. Many haven’t yet got their January pay.
SpiceJet has said it’s in the process of getting a fund infusion of ₹2,200 crore but some investors are said to have developed cold feet.
“There aren’t any funding delays and we are progressing well with our fund infusion and have already made our public announcements accordingly,” the spokesperson said. “We will be making additional announcements as we progress on the next tranche. The majority number of investors have subscribed.”
At its peak in 2019, SpiceJet had a fleet of 118 planes and 16,000 employees. Its nearest rival in terms of market share is Akasa Air, which has 3,500 employees for a fleet of 23 planes. They have nearly 4% share each of the domestic market.