India's Kingfisher Airlines plans for job cuts, longer working hours

In a major cost-cutting exercise, Kingfisher Airlines is believed to be considering options like job cuts and longer working hours for its staff, sources said, although the air carrier denied any layoff plans.

Sources said the airline is looking at about 2,000 job reductions by July and the exercise could affect various positions at the mid-manager level in its corporate offices and also at the cabin crew and attendant levels, among others.

While detailed e-mailed queries sent to Kingfisher in this regard remained unanswered, a company spokesperson later said in a late-evening statement, "Kingfisher categorically denies news reports appearing in a section of the press which claim the airline is planning to lay off any staff."

Sources had said the debt-ridden carrier could also abstain from any major hiring, at least till August, 2012.

At the same time, the airline, a part of Vijay Mallya-led UB Group, could also consider increasing the working hours of staff being retained.

It would pay higher incentives and allowances to the staff working longer hours, but the move could still help it cut employee expenses drastically, as costs could be double for hiring fresh employees, sources said.

The airline is already said to be witnessing some attrition and recently it was reported that some of its air hostesses have left to join state-run Air India.

Kingfisher's total employee costs dipped marginally by 2 per cent in the 2010-11 fiscal to Rs 676 crore.

Its total headcount stood at 7,317 as of March 31, 2011, down from an average 7,681 employees in the previous year ending March, 2010.

Source: Daily Pioneer