Thursday, 25 April, 2019

1,100 Jet Airways pilots decide not to fly from Monday: NAG

Jet Airways aircraft are seen parked on the tarmac at Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai Jet Airways aircraft are seen parked on the tarmac at Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai
Priscilla Morrison | 17 April, 2019, 17:57

The pilots union, National Aviator's Guild has also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to save the 20,000 jobs at stake, the agency reported.

Jet's lenders, who have been seeking a new investor to take a stake of up to 75 percent in the airline, hope to complete the selection of bidders by May 7 after SBI extended a deadline.

The Guild, which has around 1,100 pilots as its members, had chose to stop flying from April 15 in protest against non-payment of salaries since March. At present, the company is trying to secure interim funding from lenders to sustain its current level of operations.

"As a proactive measure, Jet Airways has restricted sales on certain routes for a few days in order to re-accommodate guests who have unfortunately been inconvenienced by interim cancellations", a spokesperson of the airline said. According to its website, its current interests, includes Jet Air Tours and Jet Fleet, a auto rental service.

Currently, Jet Airways is operating only 6-7 planes, dozens of others were seized by creditors in recent weeks.

Also on Monday, Jet Airways pilots demonstrated in Mumbai after deciding against a strike, saying they had not been paid in four months and asking India's government for a lifeline.

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In 2012, Kingfisher Airlines was plagued with the same set of troubles.

However, Jet used to spend Rs 7000 crore per year only on aviation fuel, and it is doubtful whether Rs 1500 crore can save the company now. A consortium of bankers led by State Bank of India is managing the airline.

"The pilots are divided on the issue of going on a strike as there are hardly any flights left to operate".

"Till date we are awaiting the funding and, meanwhile, our beloved airline is dying a slow death along with unpaid salaries of pilots and engineers for over 3 months", a member said.

Jet Airways successfully managed to hold its own as a full-service airline in the tough Indian market after first breaking into the monopoly held by state-run Air India in the early 1990s, according to Bloomberg.

Last month, Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal stepped down from the board of the airline, which has more than Rs 8,000 crore debt. They also blame the management for failing to pay salaries that affected the financial wellbeing of several employees.

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