Hyderabad, Oct 16 : Air India on Thursday said that it is considering a plan to give about 15,000 of its staff a three-five years leave without pay.
Air India CMD Raghu Menon said, "We are planning to offer leave without pay for three to five years. We can consider it for about 15,000 employees."
However, he said, those who take up the offer to go on leave would be taken back if they desire so at the same seniority and last drawn pay.
Menon's statement comes at a time when the country's leading private carrier Jet Airways has laid off 1,100 jobs as the financial crisis in the aviation sector worsens.
On Wednesday, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, however, ruled out any job cuts in Air India, assuring employees that there were no plans to prune staff strength immediately.
Patel said, "No. Air India is not going to have any job cuts. Certainly it (the aviation crisis) will affect the growth plans, it will affect the future employment opportunities which would have come the way of Air India in case the aviation industry was in a much better financial health."
He further said, "But as of now I do not have the luxury to say beyond the fact that those who are working for Air India shall continue to do so and we shall not have any issue of people being laid off."
The country's 77-year-old carrier, facing financial crunch, has proposed infusion of Rs 1,000-1,500 crore of equity capital. It is also looking at soft loans of Rs 1,000 crore from the Government that can be repaid over a period of time.