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Jet Airways CEO tells govt: No clarity on salaries till resolution outcome

FE Bureau

Vinay Dube, CEO of the grounded carrier, Jet Airways, on Monday told the ministry of labour and employment officials that there can be no clarity on the issue of payment of salaries to the employees till the outcome of the bank-led resolution process. Dube was called by the ministry officials to provide clarity as to by when the salaries can be paid.

Where we stand is dependent on how the bid process goes, Dube said. The lenders are leading this. We await any kind of formal intimation from the lenders on who the bids are from, what the details are, and the steps we can take jointly.

The meeting was called following a letter written by the pilots of the airline to the ministry on May 8, seeking redressal of their held back wages. The airline had delayed salary payments since August 2018, and all employees have gone without pay since March of this year. On April 17, Jet Airways temporarily halted operations after lenders refused the airline s request to extend emergency funding to continue operations.

Following the airline s failure to meet its payment obligations to lenders, Naresh Goyal, founder and former chairman of Jet Airways, stepped down from the board. Lenders took control of Jet Airways and initiated the debt resolution process. On April 8, SBI Caps, the consultant for the resolution process, invited expression-of-interest documents from interested bidders for the change in management and control of Jet Airways .

On May 10, minutes before the deadline for bids ended, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways emerged as the sole bidder, but for a minority stake in the ailing carrier. An Indian partner for Etihad Airways is yet to be found, Rajnish Kumar, SBI chairman, told television channels on Monday. Lenders also received unsolicited bids from several parties.

Since the grounding of Jet Airways, the ministry of civil aviation has given away slots previously allotted to the airline in major airports to other airlines. Dube, along with other officials of the airline, met various ministry officials seeking support to pay salaries and requesting that slots for Jet Airways be retained. On the issue of slots being reallocated, Dube said, the ministry of civil aviation has assured him the slots will be available for Jet Airways as and when we are able to resurrect the airline .