Jet Airways crisis: Prabhu asks aviation secy to hold emergency meeting

  • Jet Airways crisis: Prabhu asks aviation secy to hold emergency meeting

Jet Airways crisis: Prabhu asks aviation secy to hold emergency meeting

A pilots' organisation warned that its members would stop flying for the carrier if their salaries were not paid by the end of March.

He said the airline was trying to "improve its liquidity".

Jet Airways, with its fleet of 119 planes, once controlled a sixth of India's domestic aviation market. The current availability of aircraft in the fleet for operation is 41 and accordingly, a schedule for 603 domestic flights and 382 worldwide flights has been drawn.

But at least 50 of those aircraft have been grounded.

Prabhu, in a tweet, said he has also asked the civil aviation secretary to get hold of a report on Jet's compliance issues from the aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

Ltd deepened on Tuesday as an increasingly anxious government called for an emergency meeting, angry passengers demanded refunds and pilots threatened to go on strike over unpaid salaries.

Accordingly, the over 1,000 member-strong National Aviators Guild will refrain from flying duties if they are not provided with proper information on the company's financial resolution plan.

Jet Airways pilots' union on Tuesday chose to refrain from operating flights if they are not given complete clarity on the company's resolution plan and future by March 31.

Jet Airways' engineers, pilots and senior management have not been paid for January and February, besides 87.5 per cent of their December salary is also due.

Earlier in the day, the Jet Airways' Aircraft Maintenance Engineers' Union shot off a letter to the aviation regulator that three months' salary was overdue to them and flight safety "is at risk". The JAMEWA claims representing around 490 engineers.

"Therefore the safety of public transport airplanes being flown by Jet Airways across India and the world is at risk", it said.

At the heart of this crisis is Naresh Goyal, the founder of the airline.

The government has urged state-run banks to convert debt into equity and take a stake in Jet Airways in a rare move to use taxpayer money to save a struggling private-sector company from bankruptcy. The plan was announced few weeks ago.

It is crucial for the country that Jet Airways revives as the fall of its second-largest airline could have "disastrous consequences for the investment climate" in the sector, a top government official told Reuters.

With a huge aircraft fleet and permissions to fly on many valuable global routes, Jet Airways is an attractive proposition for many investors in the market.

"Saving Jet is not equivalent to saving Goyal", the official said.

Given that elections are round the corner, the government is putting in effort to rescue the airline.

There are reports the Indian government has asked state-run banks to step in and save Jet Airways.

The finance ministry has in the past year sought regular updates from the banks, led by State Bank of India (SBI), on Jet's financial health, the people said.