In the wake of cancellations and visa restrictions to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, low-cost carrier GoAir on Tuesday announced a temporary suspension of all its international flights from March 17 to April 15.
The airline has also decided to implement a short-term rotational ‘leave without pay’ programme to counter the temporary reduction in capacity. In a statement, GoAir said the aviation industry has been one of the most affected sectors as governments have issued travel advisories with far-reaching effects. Special events have been postponed or called off, customers have curtailed their travel plans and businesses have restricted movement of employees.
A GoAir spokesperson said, “Knowing that this will put financial burden on affected employees and having studied what companies have done in other countries to help guide our plans, this decision was not taken lightly.” GoAir has daily fights to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Muscat, Bangkok, Phuket and Male from Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Kannur.
GoAir said it has enhanced its cleaning procedures in the interest of the health and safety of customers and employees. “There is nothing more important than this. We have also tried to put our customers at ease by offering them a waiver on change fees so that they can be confident about booking their travel today while maintaining full flexibility in the future. Despite going over and above to implement these safeguards, the sharp decline in air travel that we are currently experiencing is unprecedented,” the spokesperson said.
Plea to Centre
GoAir said airlines in India have petitioned the Central government for immediate support as most other governments in the world have already provided to their affected airlines.
The GoAir statement said, “We have also taken many immediate measures to make our business more efficient. Measures will help us create an even stronger airline in the long run. GoAir remains on track to receive 12 to 15 aircraft each year through the end of 2025 in support of our planned growth. We also reaffirm our focus and commitment to punctuality, reliability and the highest level of customer experience.”