Jet Airways Pilots and Cabin Crew are leaving the airline due to the uncertainty surrounding its restart, according to a report that came out on December 26.
The Chiefs of the Engineering and Human Resources divisions are among the senior officials who have left the airline, according to CNBC TV-18.
According to sources with knowledge of the development, Mark Turner, Vice President of in-flight services at Jet Airways, has been placed on leave without pay. The report also stated that the airline’s Chief Executive Officer, Sanjiv Kapoor, and Chief Financial Officer, Vipula Gunatilleka, “remain on reduced pay”.
Many Jet Airways backup pilots and cabin employees have left the company and joined other airlines amid the uncertainty. Few members of the managerial staff who are on unpaid leave and whose pay was reduced have resigned. The report also stated that some mid-senior level personnel left to work for other airlines.
According to Reuters last month, a resolution plan to save the Indian airline from bankruptcy has reached a standstill between Jet Airways’ creditors and its new owners, casting Jet Airways’ survival in doubt.
Jet Airways, once the largest private airline in India, stopped operating in April 2019 after going bankrupt. Creditors who owed it almost Rs 18,000 crore took it to bankruptcy court. After the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) accepted a reorganisation plan in June, Jet was expected to start operating again in the first quarter of 2022 under its new owners.
In June 2021, the Jalan Kalrock group was chosen as the successful bidder for Jet Airways under the insolvency resolution procedure, however the airline has not yet begun operations.
Tensions between the new owners, a group that includes tycoon Murari Lal Jalan of the UAE and London-based Kalrock Capital, and its lenders run the risk of thwarting Jet’s revival.
The Jalan-Kalrock Consortium and the financiers of Jet Airways remain at odds, and both parties have turned to the courts for help. Earlier last month, the JKC requested a transfer of ownership of the airline in a motion to the NCLT.
In the meantime, the lenders filed a separate appeal with the NCLAT, pleading for the tribunal to throw out its observations from a ruling made on October 21. The Jalan-Kalrock partnership had been found by the NCLAT to have complied with the prerequisites stated in the resolution plan.
The consortium was ordered by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) to pay the carrier’s employees’ unpaid gratuity and provident fund contributions in October. In light of this, the consortium stated on November 18 that managing cash flows may require “tough” decisions in the near future.
Following the consortium’s failure to make payments as promised under the Resolution Plan, the Jet Airways Cabin Crew Association (JACCA) filed a petition with the NCLAT last month asking for the liquidation of Jet Airways’ assets. These included pay cuts and Leave Without Pay for many of the 230 employees.
Sanjiv Kapoor, the CEO of the airline, told CNBC-TV18 that although some workers had temporary salary reductions, others had been placed on short-term Leave Without Pay (LWP).
In a separate tweet, Kapoor stated that two-thirds of the workforce were not affected at all and that the majority of those who were will experience temporary wage reductions. He had stated that no employees had been let go and that just a small percentage of the total (10%) would be on temporary leave without pay.
(With inputs from CNBC TV-18)