Jet Airways Crisis: Pilots defer 'no pay, no work' strike as management meets lenders today
Monday is likely to decide whether Jet Airways, which is facing the worst financial crisis in its 25-year history, will close down or continue flying. The airline management is expected to meet the lenders tomorrow and are likely to present a fresh plan to request for the promised infusion of Rs 1,500 crore.
Meanwhile, around 1,100 pilots belonging to Jet Airways' pilots body National Aviator's Guild (NAG) will meet to decide whether the pilots will fly or not, due to non-payment of salaries.
“There is a critical meeting tomorrow with airline management and SBI. In light of meeting, members have requested through their Team Leaders that call of ‘No Pay No Work’ be deferred to give airline a chance of survival,” said a statement by NAG.
“Accordingly, as requested, the committee would like to inform all, that the decision stands deferred for the time being,” it added.
Earlier in the day, the pilots had decided not to fly from 10 am Monday in protest against "non-payment of salary dues. "As on today, we have not been paid for nearly three-and-a-half months and we don't know when we will be paid. So we have decided to go ahead with our call of no-flying from April 15. All 1,100 pilots of NAG will stop flying from 10 am Monday," said a Guild source.
The pilots along with engineers and senior management have not received salaries since January. The debt-ridden carrier has also not paid March salary to employees of other categories as well.
The NAG, which claims representation of around 1,100 pilots of the total 1,600 with the full-service carrier, had in late March called for no flying from April 1 over non-payment of salaries.
However, on March 31 it deferred the agitation to April 15, saying it wanted to give more time to the new management.
On March 25, the SBI-led consortium which took over the debt-ridden airline following the exit of founder Naresh Goyal, had promised an immediate interim funding support of Rs 1,500 crore to keep the carrier operational.
Operating with 6-7 aircraft, Jet Airways had on Friday extended suspension of its services to these destinations until Monday. It has also closed reservations for its Mumbai-London, Mumbai-Amsterdam-Mumbai and Bangalore-Amsterdam flights, up to April 18, as per the information. The government rules stipulate an airline must have at least 20 planes for operating international operations.
In the last two days, it has operated six-seven planes per day only as its entire fleet almost is grounded due to non-payment of rentals to lessors and paucity of cash to purchase jet fuel from the oil companies, which snapped supplies thrice in last more than a week demanding payment.