Jet Airways Crisis: Pilots Offered Leaves Without Pay; 200 Quit In Past Months For Salary Delay
Jet Airways has given its pilots the option to leave without pay following the grounding of over half its fleet as the financially stressed carrier cuts capacity and operations amid cash crunch.
The operational fleet of this airlines has reduced from over 100 last year to 30-35 currently. This has led to massive flight cancellations and more stand-by duties for its pilots. Out of 1400 pilots airline had, 200 have quit in the past few months because of salary delays. The number of pilots flying the Boeing 737 planes is around 1,000.
Why leave without pay
Jet, India’s second-biggest airline by market share, is facing the worst financial crisis in its 25-year existence, with mounting losses and debt. It has grounded planes, laid off staff and trimmed unviable flights to stay afloat.
And due to these reasons, the company is offering leave without pay to its employees and employees have received requests for extended time off due to changes in operational requirement including leave without pay for some pilots says a communique from Jet to its Boing 737 pilots titled “invite request for leave without pay.”
The flight operations department has proposed changes to the crew duty pattern. Due to reduced number of flights, crew will be assigned five-day work and three-day off pattern from April 11-26. At present, pilots have a six-day work and one-day off pattern. According to the agreement between the airline and the union, pilots can be assigned duty for 22 days each month and will be paid salary and allowances accordingly. A source said duty allowances would not be cut due to changes in work pattern.
According to media reports, the company has not given the salary of last three months to pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers and senior management, the pilots and AMEs have threatened to go on work strike from 15 April if their salaries are not cleared, recently jet airways cleared 87% of the salary for the month of December to its employees.
Non-payment of salary to employees can lead to serious issues likework-lifee complications, and can becomea threat to safety of airlines as per, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)
Suresh Prabhu tweeted
Ministry of Civil Aviation will hold an emergency meeting regarding grounding of flights by Jet Airways, Advance bookings, Cancellation, Refunds and Safety issues, if any. Asked him to get a report on Jet compliance issues immediately from DGCA. @jayantsinha The new policy came days after, Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal stepped down from the board of the cash-strapped airlines, as a measure to boost its financial capability.
The airlines informed the Civil Aviation Ministry that lenders have agreed to provide emergency funding of Rs 1500 crore and would operate 75 planes by April-end after negotiating payment plan, till then pilots’ union decided to defer no-flying agitation to April 15, giving the management additional time to resolve funding issues.
Meanwhile, SBI is in constant search of a buyer for Jet airways and already engaged in talk with corporate who have shown interest in buying jet airways.