Mumbai: Jet Airways (India) Ltd executives on Tuesday assured ground staff that the airline will resolve its crisis in a month, a senior official of its workers’ union said. At a meeting with top Jet Airways executives that lasted about three hours at its Mumbai headquarters, senior members of All India Jet Airways Officer and Staff Association, representing its ground staff, security and cargo workers raised their concerns about the future of the airline.
“Today, we got news that about 43 aircraft of Jet Airways are grounded. Many flights to small stations, including Nagpur, have been cancelled today. This situation and pending issues in relation to the charter of demands, made us reach out to the management," said Kiran Pawaskar, union president and a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator.
“We met the chief people officer (Rahul Taneja) at Jet Airways today, and have also written a letter to the chief executive officer (Vinay Dube) expressing our concerns," Pawaskar said.
Jet Airways’ management has assured to resolve the issues in a month, Pawaskar added.
Crippled by a financial crunch and massive debt, Jet Airways has delayed payments to banks, lessors, vendors and employees, and grounded several aircraft, causing numerous flight cancellations.
According to its BSE notifications, at least 25 Jet Airways planes are currently grounded due to payment delays to aircraft lessors.
However, an industry experts said as many as 43 aircraft are currently grounded, including a few due to technical issues.
“The management has assured that there will be no suspension or terminations of jobs or closure of operations, which would adversely affect staff," Pawaskar added.
“Jet Airways’ management and the members of its employee union held a scheduled meeting today to share updates regarding ongoing developments. The airline’s employees continue to support the management and the initiatives being undertaken to revive the financial health and stability of the company," said a Jet spokesperson.
Shareholders of the airline recently approved a rescue plan, which would allow lenders to convert their debt into equity. The approval allows lenders to become majority stakeholders and infuse funds in the airline. The Jet Airways bailout package proposes to meet a funding gap of nearly ₹8,500 crore through a mix of equity infusion, debt restructuring, sale, SLB (sale and lease back), and refinancing of aircraft, among other measures. The lenders have also got the required approvals to convert their debt into equity.
Jet Airways had a gross debt of ₹8,411 crore as of end-September, including aircraft debt of ₹1,851 crore. On Tuesday, its shares rose 1.64% to close at ₹238.50 apiece on the BSE while the benchmark Sensex gained 1.05% to end the day at 36,442.54 points.