Jet Airways promises to clear staff dues after mass leave

Jet Airways, which ended the three months to June with losses of Rs 1,323 crore on revenue of Rs 6,066 crore (it ascribed the losses to the weak rupee and rising fuel prices), and has debt of Rs 9,425 crore on its books (as on 31 March 2018) has been trying to raise money to repay loans and meet other needs.

business Updated: Dec 03, 2018 23:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Jet airways
A Jet Airways passenger aircraft prepares to land at the airport in Ahmedabad, August 12, 2013. (REUTERS File)

A day after it was forced to cancel 14 flights because pilots reported sick, the cash-strapped Jet Airways promised to employees that all their outstanding salary arrears will be cleared on priority by April, 1 2019. The airline, in a message to pilots, also urged them to “continue to stand united against all the external forces and keep up the Jet Airways spirit”. Hindustan Times has seen a copy of the message.

The airline, however, claimed in a statement that the flights were cancelled due to an “unforeseen operational circumstance, and not pilot non-cooperation”, Press Trust of India reported.

In its message to pilots, Jet blamed the state of the aviation business for its troubles.

“The aviation industry continues to remain challenging thereby impacting the entire sector and Jet Airways is no exception. In these turbulent times, we want to express our heartfelt thanks to each of you for always standing by the Company and we sincerely appreciate your continued support and understanding. Please be rest assured that the Jet Airways management remains committed to honour its obligations and is making every effort to ensure we deliver as promised. We would like to reiterate that the remaining 25% of your September 2018 salary shall be remitted on 4 December 2018. You may also note that all outstanding salary arrears will be cleared on priority closer to 1 April 2019,” the airline’s chief people officer Rahul Taneja said in an e-mail to employees.

A Jet Airways spokesperson said that the email was self explanatory and declined further comment.

In his email, Taneja said, “There has been recent talk among select employee groups regarding potential future compensation cuts. Please be rest assured that there have been no such conversations and any information associated with this is regrettably misconstrued. We remain committed to our employees at all times and will ensure that on all “people” measures there is a cohesive dialogue and due consultation.”

Jet, which ended the three months to June with losses of Rs 1,323 crore on revenue of Rs 6,066 crore (it ascribed the losses to the weak rupee and rising fuel prices), and has debt of Rs 9,425 crore on its books (as on 31 March 2018) has been trying to raise money to repay loans and meet other needs.

Jet also separately wrote to the pilots concerning Sunday’s problem.

“Despite running at unprecedented levels of operational reliability and on-time performance over the last few months, a single day’s operational disruption has the potential to shake that trust we have built over the last 25 years. Added to this, some media houses ‘claim’ that our pilots are the reason for this disruption and that individual pilots themselves have informed the media about their individual non-cooperation,” Captain Nikhil B Ved, executive vice president (Flight Operations & Engineering) of Jet Airways said in an email to the pilots, a copy of which has been seen by HT.

“I refuse to believe our pilots would do such a thing. I believe we have professional pilots amongst our ranks who deliver to the best of their ability and would do nothing, even inadvertently, to hurt our airline and their fellow colleagues,” Ved added in the mail.

On Monday, shares of Jet Airways rose 0.25% to close at Rs 306.45 a piece on the day the benchmark BSE Sensex rose 0.13% to close at 36241. The shares are 63% off their 52-week high of Rs 870 each.

First Published: Dec 03, 2018 23:05 IST