Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Jet Airways crisis deepens as 'unpaid' pilots threaten not to fly from April 1

New Delhi: Cash-strapped airline Jet Airways crisis has gone from bad to worse. Till a few weeks ago Jet had a total of 119 operational aircraft but on Tuesday just a third of its original fleet, 41 flew.

On Tuesday, the Jet Airways pilots' union met in Mumbai and decided to refrain from flying aircraft from April 1 unless their last three months salary dues were cleared or at least by March 31, a letter of intent was signed for clearing of dues.

According to the ToI report, currently, Jet is scheduled to operate nearly 140 flights per day, which is quite far from the number of 600 till a few months ago.

Etihad reportedly denied pumping in funds that Jet was counting on. Currently, Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi is the largest shareholder in Jet Airways with a 24 per cent stake.

Meanwhile, the government is likely to turn to the public sector (PSU) banks to rescue Jet in an apparent bid to avert thousands of job losses weeks before the general election. Sources said the government wants National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), where it owns 49 per cent stake and whose mandate is to invest in stalled and new infrastructure projects, to buy a stake in Jet to save the cash-strapped airline.

On Tuesday, Jet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Welfare Association (JAMEWA) said in a statement that Jet Airways' aircraft are “safe to fly” and are being maintained at the “highest levels of safety”. “We assure you and the public that Jet Airways airplanes are safe to fly and are being maintained at the highest levels of safety standards since the last 25 years. We have an impressive TDR (Technical Dispatch Reliability) of 99.50 per cent, one of the highest in the industry,”

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