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Last Updated : Apr 15, 2019 06:35 AM IST | Source:

Jet Airways pilots defer strike, as management meets lenders on Monday

Ironically, the strike may not have much of an impact, as the airline is flying a skeletal schedule, and there will be enough non-union pilots to fly these flights

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Jet Airways pilots belonging to the National Aviators Guild have deferred the strike planned from April 15, with the management set to meet lenders on Monday.

The union had decided its pilots will not report to service on Monday, April 15, with their deadline to the management to clear their salary dues expiring on April 14.

The airline has about 1,400 pilots, and about 75 percent are members of the Guild.

"It is come to our notice that there is a critical meeting planned tomorrow (Monday) morning with the airline management and SBI," said the union in its letter to members.

"In light of the meeting, the members have requested, through their team leaders, that the call of 'No Pay No Work' be deferred to give the airline a chance of survival. Accordingly, as requested, the Committee would like to inform all that the decision stands deferred for the time being," it added.

Ironically, the strike would not have had much of an impact, as the airline is flying a skeletal schedule, and there will be enough non-union pilots to fly these flights.

It is also unlikely that the airline will restart its international services, which had been suspended till April 15.

The pilots and engineers have not been paid since January. The airline, which is close to being shut down if its lenders don't transfer funds, had also deferred paying March salaries to all its employees.

Separately, the pilots, crew members and engineers may gather at the Jet Airways headquarters in Mumbai on April 15 morning, as a mark of protest.

The airline is flying less than 50 flights a day, with a fleet of seven aircraft. The fleet is down from its original strength of 119 planes.

Jet Airways needs an urgent fund infusion if it has to continue operating. But given its high debt, of over Rs 8,000 crore, the lenders have been reluctant to put in more money.

This is despite the promise to transfer Rs 1,500 crore in emergency funding. Instead, the banks have been putting just enough to keep the airline alive on a daily basis.

But now even that may not be enough.

The airline management has been holding discussions with bank officials, even as the bidding process is on.

The suitors, which include Etihad Airways and former Chairman Naresh Goyal, have to submit bids by April 30.

It will, however, be difficult for the airline to last till then unless banks come to the rescue with higher funds infusion.
First Published on Apr 14, 2019 04:13 pm
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