COVID-19: GoAir suspends international operations amid ‘unprecedented’ decline in travel

GoAir has also initiated a short term and temporary rotational leave without pay program to ensure that a cross section of its employees stay away from the workplace.

As the number of cases of COVID-19 increase and travel restrictions are imposed, GoAir is temporarily suspending all international operations, starting March 17, 2020 until April 15, 2020. This comes as the airline industry is seeing a sharp decline in air travel.

In addition, GoAir has also initiated a short term and temporary rotational leave without pay program.

This, the company claims will not only help it counter the short-term reduction in capacity but will also ensure that a cross section of its employees stay away from the workplace to ensure business continuity.

“Knowing that this will put a financial burden on the affected employees and having studied what companies have done in other countries to help guide our plans, this decision was not taken lightly,” the company said in a statement.

As governments have issued travel advisories, with customers curtailing their individual travel plans and businesses restricting the movement of their employees, the airline industry has been most hit.

“Despite going over and above to implement these safeguards, the sharp decline in air travel that we are currently experiencing is unprecedented,” GoAir said in a statement.

In addition to addressing short term financial and network requirements, GoAir has said that airlines in India have petitioned the Government of India for immediate support, as most other governments around the world have already provided to their similarly affected airlines.

“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 added in a statement.

In light of COVID-19 and the changes being made to travel plans, GoAir is also offering customers a waiver on change fees.

“GoAir has enhanced all of its cleaning procedures in the interest of our customers' and employees' health and safety,” a company spokesperson added.

The move by GoAir comes after global aviation consultancy firm CAPA in a note on Monday said that most airlines in the world will be bankrupt by the end of May due to COVID-19 and that only a coordinated government and industry action right now can avoid the catastrophe.

"As the impact of the coronavirus and multiple government travel reactions sweep through our world, many airlines have probably already been driven into technical bankruptcy, or are at least substantially in breach of debt covenants," it stated.

Across the world, airlines have announced drastic reduction in their operations in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

IndiGo -- which has around 260 aircraft in its fleet -- said on Thursday that it has seen a decline of 15-20% in daily bookings in the last few days.

The low-cost carrier has stated that it expects its quarterly earnings to be materially impacted due to the decline.

Source - TheNewsMinute