Clear our salary dues: Jet pilots to SBI chief

NEW DELHI: Jet Airways pilots’ union has requested State Bank of India chairman Rajnish Kumar, seen as the airline’s new guardian angel, to ensure that their salaries are not delayed any further. The airline’s pilots, along with aircraft maintenance engineers (AMEs) and senior management have salary dues of almost four months now. The National Aviators Guild (NAG), union of pilots, had threatened the old management that it would stop flying from April 1. But now with a new interim system in place, they see hope that Jet will avoid a Kingfisher-like fate.

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In a series of tweets posted in the early hours, Mallya said, “Happy to see that PSU Banks have bailed out Jet Airways saving jobs, connectivity and enterprise. Only wish the same was done for Kingfisher.” Goyal along with his wife Anita stepped down on Monday following which lenders agreed to pump in Rs 1,500 crore to bail out the financially troubled airline.

“Your soothing words on a TV channel praising the pilots for their loyalty and dedication and assuring them that our efforts will not go waste are deeply appreciated by the entire community. Your kind words show that the hardships we, and our fellow AMEs, have undergone have not gone in vain. Despite the severe financial difficulties and uncertainty over our future that a lot of our colleagues have been facing over the past few months, the pilots have not wavered,” NAG general secretary captain Tej Sood said in the letter to Kumar.

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The airline’s outgoing chairman Naresh Goyal’s place is likely to be taken by a former SBI chief — Janki Ballabh and A K Purwar have been tapped for the position. Jet’s day-to-day operations will be looked after by an interim management committee. The panel would be supervised by the board of directors, which will include two lender nominees, with the support of McKinsey & Co.

“It is our humble request to you to alleviate some of the hardships that we and the AMEs have been facing by ensuring that the Jet Airways management does not further delay the release of our pending salaries and clears our dues at the earliest. We would also be grateful if you could spare us some time.. to give us an idea of the roadmap to recovery. This will help us in rebuilding confidence amongst our pilots and reassuring them that the uncertainty is behind us. We assure you, and all other stakeholders, of our continued support. The pilots remain committed to the airline and would leave no stone unturned to ensure that our airline returns to its former glory,” Sood says.

NAG represents about 1,100 Jet Airways pilots.

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