Jet Airways ‘working on resolution plan’, pilots serve notice

New Delhi/Mumbai: Even as debt-ridden Jet Airways was served a legal notice from a section of its pilots, airline’s CEO Vinay Dube on Tuesday said the company continues to work with lenders on the balance sheet restructuring plan and will inform the employees about the progress of the process by early next week.

According to Dube, the company is trying to secure interim funding to sustain, and eventually increase its current level of operations.

“Once we restore the much-needed network stability of the airline, our highest priority is to get more planes flying and to pay your salary arrears,” Dube said in a communication to employees.

“Support the bank-led balance sheet restructuring efforts to bring in fresh equity into the airline. This process has entered a new phase, with the lenders inviting Expressions of Interest (EOIs) this week. Shortly thereafter we should have a good idea of how the EOI has progressed.

“Both processes outlined above are complex and are taking longer than what everyone expected. However, please be assured that we continue to work closely with the lenders in a constructive manner for a resolution of our situation.”

The development assumes significance as a section of its pilots has sent the company a legal notice demanding payment of salaries, due from January 1, by April 14.

“We have sent a legal notice to the company. Our demand is clear — the payment of January 1 to March 31 salaries,” a senior pilot told IANS.

The notice has been sent by the National Aviators Guild (NAG), a union of pilots, to the Jet CEO. The NAG has over 1,000 members. The pilots, along with engineers and other critical segments of employees, have not been paid salaries since January 1.

The notice was served on a day when the airline was supposed to inform the employees about the latest situation on salary payments.

“In the light of the current situation, please note that salaries for March will be deferred. We will provide you an update on the status of the payout by Tuesday, April 9, 2019,” Rahul Taneja, Chief People Officer, Jet Airways, had said in a communication to employees on April 3.

Last month, the pilots’ union had decided to go on a mass leave to protest non-payment of salaries, but postponed it till April 15.

“The pilots have decided that time should be given to the new interim management till April 14 to clear salary dues in conjunction with interim funding, and charter a clear road map for the future of the company. The collective call of the pilots is hence deferred to April 15,” the NAG said in a communication after the open-house meeting on March 31.

On Monday, lenders of the debt-ridden airline invited EoI for stake sale in the company to recover dues worth Rs 8,000 crore.