Even as Narendra Modi government and the SBI brainstorm over the plan to save Jet Airways, there are reports that several pilots and engineers are leaving the embattled airline. According to an Indo Asian News Service, many pilots and technical staff are leaving the airline and joining rival SpiceJet at steep pay cut. “The prospect of closure is certainly one of the reasons for professionals agreeing to take salary cuts. But average salaries at Jet Airways have also been higher than the industry level,” a top aviation source was quoted as saying by the IANS.
“This is an unusual situation because Jet Airways remains almost grounded. Normally, supply and demand have been in favour of pilots and engineers. Now, it depends on how quickly Jet restarts again. If that happens things will stabilise. I won’t be surprised if many pilots and engineers go back to Jet,” said Rajan Mehra, a veteran aviation professional and Chief Executive Officer Club One Air.
A senior engineer at Jet, who has a CTC of Rs 4 lakh per month has reportedly got an offer with 50% pay cut. The report also quoted a source within the airline, who said that pilots with relatively lesser experience are joining other airlines. Whereas the seniors are refraining from taking such decision and they feel it would impact not just their salaries but designation also. Meanwhile, Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal has put in bid for buying stake in the ailing airline, sources said. Goyal quit as chairman of the carrier last month under a debt resolution plan that saw lenders taking control of the airline. Airline sources said Goyal has put in bid for Jet Airways.
It couldn't be immediately ascertained whether he has partnered with any entity or airline for the bid. Friday was the last date for initial bids set by SBI Capital Markets. SBI Caps has the mandate for Jet Airways' sale on behalf of the SBI-led consortium of the domestic lenders to the debt-ridden private carrier. The bidding norms allow Goyal to participate in the sale process.
"It could be financial investor, it could be airline...including Naresh Goyal himself or Etihad. Nobody is barred from bidding or taking over the airline as per the rule," SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar said last month. Last month, Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal stepped down from the board of the airline, which has more than Rs 8,000 crore debt.