Logistics

Salary dues: Jet Airways pilots to meet management on April 15

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on April 12, 2019 Published on April 12, 2019

Over 22,000 Jet Airways employees face job losses as the airline has temporarily closed operations (file photo)   -  BusinessLine

On April 11, both Etihad and NIIF have submitted Expression of Interest

Anxious over uncertainties, pilots of Jet Airways have decided to gather at the headquarters of Jet Airways on April 15 to seek clarity from the management. The pilot body , National Aviators Guild (NAG) late on Thursday night sent a message to all the 1,000 pilots associated with the body to gather outside Siroya Centre, the headquarters of Jet Airways "to seek some answers". The pilots have also decided to call for an open house on the same day. In the midst of this mayhem, 1,600 ground staff of Jet Airways have decided to protest outside the headquarters today.

"It is time to seek some answers, to humbly ask those who have the power to help us what the future may hold. Hence, we request all pilots to gather at Siroya Centre on the 15th at 1000 hrs in full uniform," a communication sent to the pilots stated. "We would also like to inform all that the collective decision taken by all pilots in the Mumbai and Delhi Open Houses shall prevail."

Jet Airways has over 1,600 pilots, for the past three months, the pilots have not been paid the salary. The pilot body has already sent a legal notice to the management in this regard. Earlier, NAG had also written to the labour ministry, Civil Aviation ministry, Directorate General of Civil Aviation seeking their intervention, however, it has been futile so far.

Cash-crunch

Jet Airways has been facing severe cash-crunch for the past six months. The airline has a gross debt of ₹ 8,400 crore with SBI being the lead banker. The debt-strapped airline has been delaying salaries of pilots, engineers, ground staff, general managers-alongside, the airline has been delaying payments to vendors, lessors and payments to vendors as well. So far, lessors have applied to DGCA to de-register 24 aircraft and ess than 14 aircraft are operational. The airline has also discontinued operations to several national and international long haul and short haul routes. The airline has also lost several premium slots on busy airports due to the issues mentioned above.

Restructuring plan

Stepping forward to save the beleaguered airline, SBI proposed a restructuring plan and is on a hunt for a strategic or financial investor. The window to propose Expression of Interest (EoI) was opened on Monday and the last day for the submitting the bids was April 10, however, was extended to April 12.

BusinessLine had reported that Etihad, the joint-venture partner of Jet Airways with 24 per cent stake in the airline had confirmed its bid along with National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF). A top source close to the lenders had said: “Once Etihad places the bid, and SBI is confident, the latter will infuse funds in the company for the airline to stay afloat till May 31.” According to sources, both Etihad and NIIF had proposed EoI on April 11.

SBI had assured interim funding of ₹ 1,500 crore of which the salaries of the pilots were supposed to be paid. However, "On 25th March, a media announcement was made by SBI that an interim funding of ₹ 1,500 cr will be made to keep Jet Airways operational. 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," the communication sent to the pilots stated. In recent times, the pilot body had decided to stop flying from April 1, however, after the 87.5 of salary transfer on March 31, the pilot body deferred from its decision and decided to give the management 15 days of time.

Last month, NAG had decided to go on a black band protest, however, due to the increasing tensions and issues between India and Pakistan, followed by the Pakistan air space closure, the protest was called off. "We have gone over and above the call of duty in doing our part to help keep the company afloat, all in the hope that our efforts and sacrifices will not go in vain. But every time there has been a ray of hope, it seems to flicker and die out without anything fruitful transpiring," it added.

Published on April 12, 2019
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor