India’s second largest low-cost carrier, SpiceJet is witnessing an exodus of sorts. More than a hundred cabin and cockpit crew have left the Gurgaon-based carrier in the last couple of months to join rival airlines.
Aviation experts feel that such high-level of attrition could seriously impact the airline’s expansion plans.
SpiceJet reported the highest cancellation rate of 2.9% among domestic carriers in June as per aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation.Eleven out of 12 Captains based at SpiceJet’s Mumbai base have quit. Add to that, over a half-a-dozen foreign commanders and more than 90 cabin crew have also quit the airline, controlled by Kalanithi Maran of Sun TV Network Ltd. Sources said the senior pilots in Mumbai have joined a rival full-service carrier.
“There are serious management issues and employees aren’t happy. There is no fixed time for flight rosters and pilots get calls at odd hours for flights. Cabin crew are not happy with the accommodation and transport facilities being provided by the company,” said a SpiceJet official, on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
SpiceJet did not respond to an email questionnaire from Hindustan Times. A text message to its CEO and calls to its corporate communication department did not elicit any response.
“This is a serious issue for SpiceJet and could impact its expansion plans,” said Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO of Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), an aviation consultancy and research firm.
“What was expected when a big investor like Kalanithi Maran came in was that the confidence level of employees and investors would be higher and attrition level, especially among senior technical staff, would be low. However, the opposite has happened,” Kaul said.
“The uncertainty seems to have unnerved a number of people and the open doors in other airlines is making this easier for them to move,” said Capt. Mohan Ranganathan, an aviation expert.
“Spicejet has serious internal issues that need to be sorted out at the earliest,” Kaul said. “The recent events have had an impact on sentiment and confidence though CAPA maintains that Spicejet has a strong business model.”