As part of its efforts to turn around operations, Jet Airways has restarted some of the flights that were cancelled over the last couple of months and has sent its expat pilots on leave of absence to cut corners.
The airline has written to all its expat pilots, about 20, asking them to go on leave of absence from April 1, and till further notice. During the period, the pilots won't get any monetary benefits.
The move will help the airline save on salary expenditure, as expats are paid about 15 percent higher than their Indian colleagues, and are also entitled to travel to their home country in frequent intervals.
"Expat pilots have been told that they will be called for duty based on requirement, and meanwhile are free to seek other job opportunities," said an executive from the industry.
But executives from the industry underlined that these were pilots who flew the 737 aircraft, which have been grounded. "The overall pool is of 1800 pilots. Thus those who have been asked to leave, form a small percentage," said the official.
The move will help Jet, which has got an emergency funding of Rs 1,500 crore from its banks and is looking for new owners after founder Naresh Goyal stepped down.
The airline had put many of its pilots on standby, as grounded aircraft meant that many of its resources were unused. Out of 119 aircraft, only about 35 were in operations.
While the airline is now beginning to get be back the grounded aircraft, the whole process may take up to two months.
The airline has written to its booking partners that it has reinstated about 55 flights that were earlier cancelled. These flights were for March 31, to April 25.
"Guests who have been re-protected by you on alternate flights due to cancellation of the above flights can be rebooked on the original flights...," said the airline in its communication.From the beginning of the year, Jet Airways was forced to cancel hundreds of flights a day, as lessors grounded aircraft after payment defaults. The airline's daily operations were reduced to less than half from the earlier 600 flights a day.