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'On verge of collapse': Pilots of debt-ridden Jet Airways write to PM Modi, Suresh Prabhu over salaries

Pilots Have Threatened To Stop Flying From April 1 If Their Pending Salaries Are Not Cleared By March 31.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Abhinav Gupta | Updated on: 23 Mar 2019, 10:34:50 AM
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New Delhi:

Jet Airways, which is on the verge of going belly-up, continues to face trouble as its pilots on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu, urging them to intervene and instruct the management to release their pending salaries.

“We fear that the airline is on the verge of collapse. This will leave thousands of people unemployed. It will change the dynamics of aviation as fares will increase due to a reduction in capacity, and travelling public will face major inconvenience,” said the National Aviators Guild (NAG), the registered trade union of Jet Airways' Indian pilots.

This comes two days after the pilots threatened to stop flying from April 1 if their pending salaries are not cleared by March 31.

However, the Naresh Goyal-led Jet Airways, which is facing the worst financial crisis of its 25-year existence with more than one billion dollars of debt, claimed that all employees except for pilots and engineers are getting paid on time.

"The pilots and engineers are now almost three months behind salaries and facing a lot of financial hardships with no relief in sight. Our repeated pleas to the management have gone unheard. The pilots have maintained professionalism and not hampered operations of the airline as that would have had a catastrophic effect on passengers'' travel plans," read the letter.

The airline on Friday also suspended operations on as many as 13 more international routes till end-April even as it grounded seven more planes due to non-payment of rentals, taking the number of such aircraft to 54.

The company said that as mentioned earlier, it is actively engaged with all its aircraft lessors and is regularly providing them with updates on the efforts taken to improve the liquidity.

Earlier, sources said routes where services have been temporarily withdrawn include Pune-Singapore (seven a week), which was launched with much fanfare late last December, and Pune-Abu Dhabi (seven flights a week).

Jet Airways has already suspended services on the Mumbai-Manchester route.

Gasping for funds and no bailout on the horizon, the Naresh Goyal-controlled airline has now reduced its operations to one-fourth from over 600 daily flights earlier, with just one-third of its 119 fleet being operational.

The airline has discontinued services from Delhi to Abu Dhabi (nine a week), Dammam (14 weekly), Dhaka (11), Hong Kong and Riyadh (seven each a week) up to April 30, said the airline source.

Besides, the airline has also suspended services on the Bangalore-Singapore route, where it flies twice daily, till April 30.

The flights which have been suspended from Mumbai for this period include services to Abu Dhabi (12 weekly), Bahrain (4-7 weekly), and Dammam (14 weekly). These services will remain suspended till April 30, as per the source.

Similarly, flights on the Mumbai-Hong Kong (7 weekly) route will also not be operated between March 23 and April 30, while the Kolkata-Dhaka services have also been suspended till April 30.

In addition to this, services from Delhi and Mumbai to Kathmandu, Bangkok, Doha, Kuwait and Singapore have been also reduced significantly.

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First Published : 23 Mar 2019, 10:34:46 AM

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