Ixigo, a 13-year-old travel and hotel booking service in India, said on Monday it is cutting the salary of its entire staff as the firm grapples with severe disruption in its business due to the coronavirus outbreak that has pushed New Delhi to issue a nationwide lockdown.
Aloke Bajpai, co-founder and chief executive of Ixigo, said the leadership at the firm has agreed to take a 60% pay cut while the rest of the staff, about 200 people, have agreed to have their salaries reduced between 20% to 50%. Bajpai and Rajnish Kumar, the other co-founder, have decided to forgo their entire salary until the business is back on track.
“We will reinstate the salaries as soon as the situation improves and we will also convert the accumulated salary deductions over the hardship period into equivalent ESOPs so that everyone benefits from future upside when the going gets better again,” said Bajpai.
The Indian government suspended all domestic flights and other public transportation services earlier this month and ordered a complete lockdown for three weeks to its 1.3 billion people in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease in the country.
Verteran industry executive Bajpai said the current situation is “the darkest hour for travel.” And it has hit the company at a time when it had just turned EBIDTA positive in the first two months of 2020.
Bajpai said Ixigo’s revenue surged by almost 50% in 2019 and burn rate dropped by almost 85% in the same year. The pay cut has enabled the company to not let go of any individual, he said.
“What the travel industry (and indeed any industry in our nation) faces today is no less than a war. India and the entire world are facing a catastrophe imposed by a microscopic adversary that has forced us to be confined to our homes, taken away our freedom to socialize with others, to roam and travel freely and forced us to give up all those things that help us experience the world and make us more human,” he said.
MakeMyTrip, another travel and stay booking service, announced last week that it was also cutting the salary of its top management level across the company, which includes flight ticketing service Goibibo and bus ticketing service redBus.
Indian news outlet Entrackr reported last week that MakeMyTrip may lay off as many as 400 people if the business remains disruptive for long.