Saturday, August 17, 2019

Jet Airways air hostess, face of Brussels terror attack, leads efforts to revive airlines

Mumbai: Three years ago, Jet Airways staffer Nidhi Chaphekar was painstakingly putting the pieces of her life back together after suffering severe injuries during the 2016 terror attack at Brussels’ Zaventem Airport.
Now, Chaphekar is putting in as much intent and effort, as she put in her recovery, to revive the now-defunct airline.
Chaphekar is among those leading the efforts of a group of Jet Airways employees to get the airline up and running. They have been meeting relevant people, keeping track of the airways’ insolvency resolution process and counselling dejected employees living without salaries for months.
“I have hope and I am proudly saying this. When you all together work towards a certain goal and you have hope, it doesn’t just remain your dream, it actually becomes your reality,” said Chaphekar who became the face of the Brussels terror attack with her photograph — taken soon after the blast where she is seen sitting helpless and bloodied — making it to the front pages of all newspapers.
“It’s my birthday this month and I am sure there is some good news around the corner,” she added. “It may take two to three months for Jet to actually fly after that. But I am very sure that some good news is going to come this month.”
The cash-strapped Jet Airways flew its last flight on 19 April before announcing a temporary suspension of its operations. As employees struggled without salaries and their dues, Chaphekar first formed a Jet Airways cabin crew union of 650 members and got it registered in June.
“The union has been formed not from an agitational point of view but more to be able to collectively work for the welfare of Jet Airways’ cabin crew members,” she said. “The pilots, ground staff, loaders all have their separate unions.”
Besides, she along with representatives of Jet Airways employees across departments such as pilots, engineers and ground staff have been meeting Union ministers and politicians to sensitise them towards the struggle of the airlines’ employees while pushing for a speedy resolution.
17/08/19 Manasi Phadke/Print

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