An Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet reportedly informed its ground staff, commercial staff, pilots, and cabin crew members about plans to defer up to 35% of their May 2021 salaries.

The airline reportedly sent an email to its staff informing them that some employees would get paid an up to 35% deferred salary, according to local media reports. SpiceJet reportedly told the flight crew that from June 2021, they would be paid “according to the work hours contributed”, meaning that the company aims to apply a new wage structure, under which some pilots will see a sharp deferment in their original wages.

“While the salaries for the month of May shall be credited to your bank accounts on June 1, there will be a graded deferment of up to 35 percent for some of our employees. The deferred amount will be released from the second week of June onwards,“ is reportedly written in the letter as seen by the local media.

Meanwhile, the airline promised to leave a group of the lowest-paid employees without any changes in their salaries, suggesting that a part of SpiceJet staff will be paid in full. The recent news regarding salary cuts comes amid the second wave of the COVID-19 virus which has hit the Indian aviation market.

The sudden surge in the new virus cases across India, which currently reaches a spike of 28.2 million infected and 332,000 deaths, has resulted in a sharp decrease in passenger traffic levels. 

In April 2021, the air carrier already deferred some paychecks by up to 50% but promised the staff to pay the remaining part of a wage later.

In spring 2020, SpiceJet temporarily cut pilot salaries for two months of April and May because it was forced to cease passenger operations due to air travel restrictions. Unlike pilots of passenger jets, the flight crew of SpiceJet cargo planes was getting paid for the hours they flew. Therefore, the company offered all flight crews who were left without wages to fly cargo operations to get minimal pay at least.