As the Jet Airways financial crisis gets complicated, the employees face the heat due to the non-payment of their salaries. Some of the employees are not being paid for nearly four months now. Jet Airways is reeling under a pile of debt, which has zoomed to nearly a billion dollar, forcing the airline to ground more than half of its fleet. The employees of the troubled airline are now taking desperate measures to make their ends meet.
The pilots of financially-strapped Jet Airways have now urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu to intervene and instruct the management to release their pending salaries. Many of its pilots have started to apply for jobs in other carriers including Indigo and Spicejet. But their immediate financial requirement remains unaddressed.
We are also normal human beings. The stress levels will keep creeping up, how much ever we try and keep them behind. We try our best but this stress of salary unpaid is unwarranted and needs to be eliminated immediately.
Many of the pilots have now come forward and narrated their horror stories. Speaking to NDTV, Captain Karan Chopra, a Boeing 777 commander at Jet with more than two decades of experience as a pilot, said: "'We are also normal human beings. The stress levels will keep creeping up, how much ever we try and keep them behind. We try our best but this stress of salary unpaid is unwarranted and needs to be eliminated immediately."
Notably, even the Middle Eastern carrier Etihad has refused to further invest in Jet Airways and it is still uncertain if State Bank of India (SBI), which leads a group of lenders, will be able to figure out a turnaround. In the latest development, SBI has asked Naresh Goyal, his wife, and two nominees to step down from the board of the airline with immediate effect. ''We have been working on a resolution plan for the last five months. The resolution plan was almost ready, but because of certain issues, there is some delay. We need a little bit more time," said Rajnish Kumar, SBI Chairman.
But the pilots of Jet cannot afford time as they have threatened to stop flying from April 1 unless they are paid their dues. Captain Asim Valiani, another senior Jet Airways Boeing 777 pilot, said: ''All the 1,100 members have decided unanimously to stop flying from the 1st of April if two demands we have (are not met). We want our salaries and we also want a clear road map. If these demands are not met, we will stop flying." The situation has become so desperate for some of its pilots, especially the Young First Officers, that they are forced to pawn ornaments of their mothers to make their ends meet.
"Young First Officers have called me repeatedly and have said 'Sir, we have to pawn ornaments of our mothers. Please save us. Please urge the management to pay our salaries.," said Captain Chopra.