The aircraft engineers' union of Jet Airways on Tuesday wrote a letter to Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) stating that flight safety "is at risk" as three months of salary is overdue to employees as the impoverished airline continues to ground its aircraft and cancel several flights.
"It has been arduous for us to meet our financial requirements, result of which have adversely affected the psychological condition of Aircraft Engineers at work and therefore the safety of public transport airplane being flown by Jet Airways across India and the world is at risk," stated the letter by Jet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers' Welfare Association (JAMEWA) to DGCA.
"While the senior management is finding a resolution to be in business, we the Engineers who inspect, troubleshoot and certify the public transport aeroplanes for its airworthiness are in tremendous stress due to non-payment of salaries on time, since last 7 months. As of now, 3 month's salary is overdue to us" the letter added, PTI reported.
The Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, has now asked the Civil Aviation Secretary to call for a meeting to discuss grounding of flights, advance bookings, cancellations, refunds, and safety issues, if any, at Jet. Prabhu has also asked the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha, to get hold of a report on Jet's compliance issues immediately from regulator DGCA, reports Reuters
Naresh Goyal, the chairman of the cash-strapped airline, has told the employees that he needs more time to resolve the issues faced by the company. He said that he wants to sort out the problems and restore the stability of the company as soon as possible and the top priority would be to settle the delayed payments of the employees.
He also said that they are holding discussions with strategic partner Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, which holds 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways, and State Bank of India (SBI) lenders for the sustainability of the company.
Tony Douglas, the CEO of Etihad Airways, held meetings with SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar and a few other top bankers to discuss the issues in the rescue plan for Jet Airways on Monday. The airlines grounded four more flights on Monday due to non-payment of lease rentals.
Jet Airways is in deep crisis as it has hoarded a huge debt of Rs 8,200 crore and has thrice defaulted payments since January. The airline has delayed payments to its pilots, suppliers and lessors for months.
(with agency inputs)