A day after Kingfisher Air and Jet Airways switched from rivalry to partnership in a bid to face difficult skies hit by rising costs, employees in both airlines huddled to discuss their future. Job loss fears and layoff talk are certainly in the air.
Airlines are losing money on account of excess capacity in the market and 30 per cent of such capacity is to be taken off to bring supply to match the demand. If this happens, several thousand people will be earmarked as surplus. Both the airlines have more than 20,000 people working.
Be it in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and else where one question was doing the rounds-- “What would happen to me? There was uncertainty about celebrating Diwali and Christmas with friends and family. On Tuesday Mallya on an email message to employees explained the the justfication for the alliance.
All airlines are expected to lose Rs 9,000 crore this year.
“What does this tie-up mean? Will I lose my job if integration gains momentum? Can I get my salary for the next three months? Is there a place where can I join?,” asked an employee working in the engineering division of Jet Airways for several years.
“We have seen how the JetLite (former Air Sahara) staff went home weeping when they were laid off. This might happen to us,” one employee said.
Redundancies loom large because Kingfisher and Jet will consolidate ground handling, cockpit and cabin crew, ticket selling and network management functions, eliminating duplication.
Both the airlines sacked 1,150 employees who worked in JetLite and Deccan – both acquired. But some employees could find jobs in growing airlines such as IndiGo and Paramount.