Jet pilots to stop flying Monday, lenders seek survival plan from airline

Jet Airways employees protest outside the airlines' office in Mumbai on April 12, 2019. Photo: Kamlesh Pednekar.
More than a thousand Jet Airways pilots will strike work from 10 am Monday to protest unpaid salaries and uncertainty about their jobs, news agency PTI reported.

The carrier, saddled with more than $1.2 billion of debt, has had to ground more than 80 per cent of its fleet over unpaid dues to leasing companies, pushing it to the brink of shutdown and jeopardising hopes of attracting a new investor.

"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," said a person with the National Aviator's Guild, the union of Jet employees. Jet pilots, engineers and senior managers have not been paid since January. Other employees have not got their March salary, reported PTI.

On Friday, hundreds of Jet’s employees marched from the airport to the airline’s headquarters in Mumbai to seek clarity on whether they will get paid soon and if their jobs will be secure over the coming months.

Jet is flying seven planes out of its original fleet of 120. It has repeatedly defaulted on payment to aircraft leasing firms, oil companies, vendors due to a severe cash crunch. 

A lenders’ consortium, led by State Bank of India, is considering a proposal to give Jet Rs 1,000 crore and has asked the airline management to give a plan by Monday outlining operational requirements.

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