Is Jet Airways shutting down tomorrow? Looks like the remaining planes belonging to the embattled airline will be grounded as over 1,000 pilots have decided not to fly from 10 am tomorrow. According to a PTI report, the National Aviator's Guild (NAG) have decided not to fly from 10 am Monday in protest against "non-payment of salary dues, a source said Sunday.
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.
"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 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. Jet Airways is at present under the management control of SBI-led consortium of lenders after the approval of a debt-rejig plan last month, which also led its founder chairman Naresh Goyal to quit.
The development comes at a time when there are reports swirling the aviation market that several Jet pilots are leaving the embattled airline and joining the rivals despite severe pay cut. 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.