Monday, May 11, 2020

Vistara trying to retain jobs & cut spending: Chairman Bhaskar Bhat

Mumbai: Vistara's balance-sheet is “reasonably good” in terms of liquidity and there is no pressing need for any immediate fund infusion by Tata Sons, said Bhaskar Bhat, the chairman of Tata SIA Airlines that operates the airline.
Vistara is focusing on conserving cash and tackling business on a day-to-day basis amid the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown, and is keeping its employees well informed about its moves, Bhat told ET.
"At the moment we are doing all we can to holding onto their jobs and cutting as much cash outgo as possible. Like all airlines, we are also in regular touch with the government on the on-ground situation and reopening of travel permissions keeping customer safety and precautions in mind," he said.
It will be good to go “full throttle into ending the lockdown and get the economy back on its feet”, while ensuring precautions against health risks, he said. “The virus does not seem to be a challenge that will disappear for a while, until a cure comes in. Everyone will have to find a way to work around it to prevent financial losses, too."
Vistara, however, has the backing of Tata Sons in case of any urgent liquidity requirements, as part of a five-year growth plan put in place for the airline. Senior airline executives said the presence of two robust promoters in Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines has put Vistara in a better position than most airlines facing the crisis.
“Both of Vistara’s promoters are in the business long run and will continue to support the business through this crisis. Also, remember there will be a massive uptick in demand for travel once this is over, although that will take a long time,” Martin Consulting founder Mark Martin said.
"It will be our employees who will go the extra mile to get the business back to normalcy and they will remember how they have been treated in rough times. Respect and empathy as you lead the organisation forward is very important" Bhat said.

Pay cuts initiated by the airline company have been restricted to senior staff who would not face any bread-and-butter issues as most of them are well-paid, he said.
11/05/20 Kala Vijayraghavan/Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times
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