Published: Wed, April 17, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Jet Airways Pilots Appeal To PM Modi To Save 20,000 Jobs

Jet Airways Pilots Appeal To PM Modi To Save 20,000 Jobs

"We also appeal Prime Minister Narendra Modi to save 20,000 odd jobs at the airline", National Aviator's Guild (NAG) vice-president Adim Valiani told reporters at the airline's headquarter, Siroya Centre, here on Monday.

Jet Airways India Ltd.'s lenders invited initial bids to buy as much as 75 percent of the debt-laden carrier, starting a process that will determine the future of India's oldest surviving private airline.

Earlier in the day, the Guild, which has around 1,100 pilots as its members, made a decision to stop flying from April 15 in protest against non-payment of salaries since March.

Employees from jet Airways have contacted PM Modi, and in a desperate attempt, have requested him to save 20,000 jobs. Jet Fleet describes Jet Air as an aviation service group that includes Jet Airways as a partner.

The airline is flying less than 50 flights a day, with a fleet of seven aircraft.

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In 2012, Kingfisher Airlines was plagued with the same set of troubles.

Jet has been in a tailspin for months. Since March 25, the stock has gained 2.3%.

An SBI spokesman could not immediately comment on the emergency funding being considered by lenders for Jet Airways. Jet Airways is now under the control of an SBI-led consortium of lenders. "We can not have a situation where negotiations are going on for five hours with lenders to release Rs 2-3 crore to oil companies while passengers are sitting in the planes", one of the people quoted above said. The fate of the airline hangs in the balance as it has hardly any neither pilots nor aircraft left to sustain daily operations.

Speaking to the BBC one pilot said, "We haven't been paid for the last four months".

A recovery plan led by government-owned State Bank of India and other creditors has so far been unable to staunch the bleeding at the airline, which had 119 aircraft on December 31, when the company first defaulted on some of its $1.5 billion in debt. The lenders have reportedly decided not to release any more funds till an investor is identified. The airline, which is close to being shut down if its lenders don't transfer funds, had also deferred paying March salaries to all its employees. Its employees are expecting to be paid their pending salaries once the fresh funding comes through.

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