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NEW DELHI : IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta on Thursday announced that the airline will remove its leave without pay (LWP) program for senior employees from January 1 next year in anticipation of improved revenues.

Due to coronavirus-induced travel restrictions, Dutta on May 8 had said that a "limited and graded LWP program" was being implemented for all employees apart from the ones falling in the lowest group Level A.

The aviation sector has been hit hard due to the travel restrictions that have been imposed amid the pandemic. All airlines have taken cost cutting measures like pay cuts, LWP, etc. to survive this period.

The LWP implemented by IndiGo from May ranged from 1.5 to five days depending upon the employee group.

On May 8, IndiGo had also implemented pay cuts for its senior employees ranging from 5-25 per cent. The pay cuts are still in place.

In an email sent to employees on Thursday, Dutta said, "At this point of time, it looks like we are on a path to a graduated and measured recovery, and we are hopeful that the government will allow us to fly 100 percent of our domestic capacity by early next year."

Indian airlines are currently permitted to operate maximum 80 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic flights.

Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23. However, special international passenger flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and air bubble arrangements formed with various countries since July.

The outlook for international traffic continues to be challenging, and is a matter of some concern, Dutta noted.

"In anticipation of the improved revenue that I know we can deliver, we are removing Leave Without Pay across all departments from January1, 2021," he said.

"While we are not yet out of the woods, we are certainly moving in the right direction," he said in his email.

Dutta said the last six months were genuinely unsettling and the airline lost a large sum of money and this "means that we need to once again rise to the occasion to stabilize this ship quickly".

"It is now time for employees to rally together and ensure that the airline is profitable by the first half of next year," he added.

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