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Crisis deepens for Jet Airways as pilots plan to protest in uniform

Jet Airways pilots plan to protest in uniform

2019 04 12

2019 04 12

In a late-night development, Jet Airways domestic pilots' body decided that the pilots will protest at the Jet Airways headquarters in Mumbai in full uniform on April 15. 

* Pilots' body says airline dying a slow death due to unpaid salaries for over three months

* Earlier, pilots had sent a notice to the airline's CEO threatening legal action over unpaid salaries

 

Jet Airways domestic pilots' body, the National Aviators Guild (NAG), has decided to increase the pressure on its management over unpaid salaries by reiterating its decision to go on strike on April 15, and protest in full uniform.

This came two days after the body sent a legal notice to the airline's CEO threatening legal action over unpaid salaries.

According to an internal communication, in a late-night development, the NAG committee decided that the pilots will march to the Jet Airways headquarters in full uniform on April 15.

"On March 25, a media announcement was made by the State Bank of India (SBI) that an interim funding of Rs 1,500 crore will be made to keep Jet Airways operational. Till date, we are awaiting the funds. Meanwhile, our airline is dying a slow death due to unpaid salaries of pilots and engineers for over three months," read the internal communication.

The internal communication added, "We have gone over and above the call of duty to help keep the company afloat, all in the hope that our efforts and sacrifices will not go in vain."

The pilots' body had been seeking a meeting with the management since March 31 but didn't receive a communication on the same, which added to anger of the pilots' union.

With clouds of uncertainty already looming over the international operations of the Jet Airways, Jet communicated on Thursday that all its outbound international operations were shut for a day.

As per the declaration to the stock exchanges on Thursday, the airline grounded 10 more aircraft due to defaulting on payment to the lessors. Sources said the airline was flying 12-14 aircraft. A Jet spokesperson, however, denied the claim.

The spokesperson said maintained that the number of operational flights was higher.

The delay in the payment by the banks reduced the operations of Jet Airways to a bare minimum.

According to Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) rules, an airline can have international operations if it has a fleet of at least 20 operational aircraft. DGCA is yet to revert to India Today's queries on whether it has cancelled Jet's overseas operations.

"The company is making all efforts to minimise disruption to its network and is proactively informing and re-accommodating all its affected guests," Jet said in a statement to stock exchanges.

Meanwhile, Jet Airways passengers continued to be harassed. Pictures and videos on social media alleged that Jet had failed to provide refund on cancelled flights and tickets.

This came even as the bids for Jet Airways are drawing to a close. The SBI-led consortium has invited bids for Jet Airways till Friday the (April 12). So far, around 5-6 firms have expressed interest in acquiring a stake in Jet Airways to bail it out of its debt.

According to sources, bidders include Sovereign Fund- National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, Ethiad Airways, and two private equity firms.

Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday directed civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola to review issues concerning Jet Airways, which has been operating with less than 10 planes.

"Directed Secretary MoCA to review issues related to Jet Airways. Asked him to take necessary steps to minimise passenger inconvenience and ensure their safety," Prabhu tweeted on Friday morning.

According to industry sources, Jet Airways will operate only nine planes -- two Boeing 737s and seven regional Jet ATRs -- on Friday.

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