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Jet pilots ask SBI for pending salary, roadmap

Source: PTI
March 26, 2019 15:48 IST
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Jet Airways' domestic pilots body, the National Aviators Guild (NAG), on Tuesday sought a meeting with State Bank chairman Rajnish Kumar over pending salaries, a day after the lenders took over the carrier founded by Naresh Goyal a quarter of a century ago. 

The guild had last week announced that its over 1,100-odd members would stop flying from April 1 if their salary dues were not cleared and a clarity on the revival roadmap was not provided by March 31. 

After lots of dilly-dallying, founder chairman Naresh Goyal and his board-member wife Anita had on Monday decided to step down and also pare their stake to 25.5 percent from 50.1 percent. The changes also saw its foreign partner Etihad halving its stake to 12 percent and ceding a board position. 

 

Under the new deal, banks, mostly led by State-run lenders, would infuse Rs 1,500 crore of emergency liquidity to the airline and convert total debt of over 9,700 crore (including the fresh capital infusion) into equity worth 50.1 percent at a price of Re 1. 

With this, the public float in the airline has also come down 12.5 percent from 25 percent earlier. 

"We humbly request to you to alleviate some of the hardships that we and engineers have been facing, by ensuring that the new Jet management does not further delay our pending salaries dues at the earliest," NAG general secretary Tej Sood said in an e-mail to Kumar. 

Thanking SBI for putting Jet on the road to recovery, Sood said, "We'd also be grateful if you could spare us some time and meet us to give us an idea of the recovery roadmap," as this would "help us rebuild our confidence and reassure us that the uncertainty is behind us." 

The guild represents about 1,100 of the around 1,600 pilots of the airline, and many of them have reportedly got offers from rival Indigo and Spicejet. 

The guild members have come together and stood behind the airline when it was passing through its worst period, he claimed adding, "despite the severe financial difficulties and uncertainties over our future that we have been facing over the past few months, we have not wavered." 

Sood also assured the new management of its continued support in reviving the once top airline.

Photograph: Abhirup Roy/Reuters.

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