Jet Airways has bowed to the diktat of the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) by agreeing to offer Marathi newspapers in their aircraft and include Marathi films in their in-flight entertainment system.
Nikos Kardassis, chief executive officer, Jet Airways (India) Limited, conveyed this in a letter to MNS legislator Nitin Sardesai, who had said all domestic airlines should give prominence to Marathi language in their day-to-day operations.
The letter from the airline says it had temporarily deferred uploading Marathi movies for technical reasons and would now resume it with other entertainment programmes in Marathi. It adds that Marathi newspapers will be made available on demand on international flights as is done in the domestic sector.
Sardesai expressed happiness and called it a victory of the Marathi manoos. “Jet has been positive in respecting the local sentiments and we would like others to follow suit,” Sardesai told the Hindustan Times.
The MNS has also sent letters to other airlines such as Kingfisher, Indigo, GoAir, SpiceJet and Jetlite, making the same demands.
Sardesai took up the issue after when, while travelling on a Mumbai-London Jet Airways flight, he saw films of regional languages like Tamil, Malayalam and Gujarati being screened and also newspapers in those languages being offered to passengers. Marathi figured nowhere. “Since the airlines have their base in the city, we raised the issue,” he said.