Logistics

Fate of 22,000 Jet Airways' employees hangs in balance; management seeks more time

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on April 19, 2019 Published on April 18, 2019

An employee of Jet Airways is consoled by his colleague during a protest demanding to ‘Save Jet Airways’ in New Delhi, on Thursday   -  REUTERS

Kiran Pawaskar, President, All-India Jet Airways Officers and Staff Association, addressing the employees gathered outside the company’s corporate office in Mumbai, on Thursday   -  Mitesh Bhuvad

SBI been leading the bid process to find a potential investor for the beleaguered airline and on May 10 the potential investor’s name will be declared

“The Jet Airways management will decide in a week whether the employees need to work till May 10 (when a potential investor’s name will be announced) or not,” said Kiran Pawaskar, President of All-India Jet Airways' Officers and Staff Association (AIJAOSA).

Addressing the media after a meeting with CEO Vinay Dube, Chief People Officer Rahul Taneja, and HR head Gopal Krishnan, Pawaskar, who is also an MLC belonging to NCP, said the management had asked the airline’s 22,000 employees to report to work every day.

However, the company has requested for a week to decide on whether the staff needs to report to work till May 10 or not. About 250 members of the association protested outside the airline’s headquarters on Thursday.

State Bank of India (SBI), the lead lender to Jet Airways, has been leading the bid process to find a potential investor for the beleaguered airline and on May 10 the potential investor’s name will be declared.

Dube had informed employees two days ago that though the airline wanted to fly, it did not have the funds. SBI had assured ₹ 983-crore interim funding, but that has not come through, he said.

Also read: For pilots flying last Jet plane, it was a flight filled with emotion and hope

Scouting for investor

Meanwhile, SBI Caps is in the midst of the bid process for a potential investor. So far, four potential bidders have come into picture, including Etihad, which has 24 per cent stake in the airline.

“After May 10 when the bidding process will get over, and the new investor comes in, the airline may get funds. Even today, Etihad has 24 per cent stake and 51 per cent stake is owned by Naresh Goyal. The airline has aircraft grounded in different airports across the world.

“In the aviation industry, taxes are levied on everything. How is the government not responsible for this? SBI did not live up to its statements relating to interim funding, appointing an interim committee, etc...,” said Pawaskar.

“It is the question of 22,000 employees. The airline started 25 years ago, and from four aircraft it expanded to 119 aircraft. Obviously, the airline has flourished. It is a micro to macro effect,” he said.

“However, why is the airline not making any money now. We wrote a letter to the Prime Minister and Finance Minister seeking their interventions,” he added.

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Published on April 18, 2019
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