Debt-ridden airline Jet Airways on Saturday told its employees that it will clear pending salaries for December 2018, Reuters reported. The announcement comes days after the airline’s pilots threatened to go on strike from April 1 if salaries pending for the last three months are not paid.
“These are complex processes and it has taken longer than we had expected and as such we are only able to remit your remaining salary for December 2018,” Chief Executive Vinay Dube said in a communication to the employees. “We realize that this remittance does not lift the financial hardship that each of you are facing and we do not take your sacrifices for granted. We continue to work on additional funding on an urgent basis and shall advise you about the release of the remaining salary arrears as the funds come in.”
However, the National Aviators Guild, the pilots’ union, said Saturday’s announcement was inadequate, the Business Standard reported. “There will be no flying unless the company pays us substantial salaries and provides a road map,” the guild said in a message sent to its members. Karan Chopra, the president of the National Aviators Guild, said the union plans to meet in Mumbai on Sunday to decide whether to proceed with the strike on April 1.
On March 22, the pilots’ union had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi appraising him of the lack of payment of salaries. “We fear that the airline is on verge of collapse and this will leave thousands of people unemployed,” the letter read.
On March 25, Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal stepped down from the board of directors. An interim committee has been set up to manage the operations of the debt-ridden airline.
The airline, which has 119 aircraft, has reduced its operations due to a liquidity crunch. However, Jet Airways assured the Centre on March 26 that it will not ground any more aircraft.