The Hindu Business Line

Jet Airways grounds 15 more aircraft, encourages pilots to go on sabbatical

- FORUM GANDHI

The crisis in Jet Airways has deepened as the airline on Tuesday grounded 15 more aircraft after its failure to pay lessors. This is the 14th time Jet Airways has grounded aircraft this year.

The airline had 119 aircraft in its fleet, but only about 20 may be flying. Meanwhile, the airline asked its Boeing 737 pilots to go on a sabbatical from April 26 to beginning of September.

In a BSE filing, Jet Airways said it has grounded 15 more aircraft as it failed to make payments to its lessors. The airline owes over ₹8,400 crore to a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India (SBI). As part of a resolution, the State-run bank had promised an interim funding of ₹1,500 crore, but that hasn’t been transferre­d. The lenders are looking for a new strategic investor for which bidding is set to start on April 9.

Jet has been facing a liquidity crisis, with salary delays, cut back on flights, and the return of aircraft to various leasing companies. The Jet Airways’ pilots’ body, the National Aviators Guild (NAG), on Sunday postponed to April 15 its decision to stop flying after promises from the management. Earlier, the pilots had said that they would stop flying from April 1.

Approximat­ely ₹320 crore of salaries of pilots, engineers and GMs has not been paid for the past three months.

“Due to changes in operationa­l requiremen­t, B737 Flight crew will be assigned on a fiveday working and three-day off roster from April 11 to April 26. Additional­ly, flight crew seeking a long break / sabbatical between April-September may put in their requests to the fleet office for approval,” Jet Airways said in a communicat­ion to the pilots.

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