Jet Airways pilots threaten strike amid more flight cancellations


Mumbai, India | AFP | 

India’s beleaguered Jet Airways was staring at a fresh crisis Sunday as hundreds of pilots and other top staff threatened to go on strike over unpaid salaries.

Jet Airways employees hold placards as they gather for a silent march at Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, in New Delhi on April 13, 2019. – India’s Jet Airways extended a suspension of all of its international flights until April 15, the latest blow to the debt-stricken carrier battling to stay afloat. The development on April 12 came after the government said it would investigate Jet’s ability to continue flying as lenders seek a buyer to keep the beleaguered airline running. (Photo by STR / AFP)

The airline, which has debts of more than $1 billion, also cancelled more international flights to Europe and North America for the upcoming week.

More than 1,100 pilots, engineers and ground managers will decide Monday whether to go on strike to demand salaries which have not been paid since January, an official from the National Aviator’s Guild union told AFP.

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On Saturday several hundred staff staged a protest at Delhi international airport demanding to be paid.

A Jet spokesperson declined to comment on the proposed strike.

Jet has “suspended” all flights to South and Southeast Asian nations as well as services from Chennai to Paris and Toronto, it said in a statement.

Flights to and from London and Amsterdam would be “cancelled” until at least Tuesday, according to the statement, quoted by the Press Trust of India news agency.

Jet has also stopped taking reservations for many international flights, in some cases up to June 10. It called this a “pro-active measure” after recent cancellations.

Hundreds of flights have been cancelled in recent weeks after the company failed to pay leasing fees and creditors ordered its planes grounded.

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Jet’s fleet has been cut from 120 in January to just seven planes.

The government held a crisis meeting Friday, which was the deadline for prospective bidders to express an interest in acquiring a 75 percent stake in the beleaguered airline.

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Etihad Airways, which already has 24 percent, submitted an expression of interest to buy up to 75 percent, according to media reports.

Naresh Goyal, who founded the airline but quit as chairman last month, has also lodged a bid, as have some private equity groups, newspapers said.

State Bank of India, which heads a lenders’ consortium now in charge of the airline, has given Jet until Monday to submit an operations plan before it considers a $145 million cash injection.

ja-tw/rma

© Agence France-Presse


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