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Jet Airways crisis: Airline’s pilots union urges SC to direct SBI to release funds

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The protesting pilots union went to Supreme Court on Tuesday with a plea to direct the banks and lenders to release the funds for the debt ridden airlines. The union, National Aviator’s Guild (NAG) blamed State Bank of India (SBI) for the situation of the airline. The NAG also said that decisions like allotment of slots, deregistering of aircraft and giving them off to other airlines were taken without any regard for the future of the 22,000 employees.

The NAG said, “The value of Jet Airways has been deliberately eroded during the bidding process which should not have been done.”

“The livelihood of employees is directly affected and the respondents are taking steps prejudicial to the company. If the present situation continues there will be no option but to liquidate the company,” the NAG said in the petition that has the civil aviation ministry, aviation regulator, Jet Airways and airport operators as the respondents.

As per SBI’s letter, the refusal to release the Rs 1,500-crore interim funding was due to inordinate delay by Jet Airways’ management in creating security in favour of the bank. The letter was in response to a letter written by Dube requesting interim funds.

The Jet Airways founder and promoter Naresh Goyal has expressed the hope that the airline shall fly again after completion of the bank led resolution plan. “At the onset of the 26th anniversary of Jet Airways, the mood was sombre, poignant. Neeta and I were moved beyond words to see … your continued commitment and confidence in Jet Airways,” he said in a letter to the staff.

“We are unable to reciprocate and respond to each of you individually owing to the prevailing circumstances,” Mr. Goyal said adding “further to my communication of 25th March 2019, since stepping down from our respective positions, Neeta and I have had no role at Jet Airways.”

He said he had made available ₹250 crore from a group company to the banks with the hope for recapitalisation and even had pledged his shareholding in the airline. Besides, he had stepped down as chairman and Ms. Goyal from the board as per the wish of lenders.

“I hope and pray that the banks will finalise the bidders on the 10th of May and move forward in the interest of all employees,” he said.Mr. Goyal said, “Neeta and I are anxiously hoping that there will be a positive outcome on the 10th of May 2019 as per the BLRP deadline.“We both fervently pray that the “joy of flying” (the airline’s tagline) may once more bring cheer and solace to all of you.”

Jet Airways suspended operations on April 17 after banks did not release funds. The airline has also not paid the staff salary and vendor dues for several months.             


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