A Jet Airways India Ltd. aircraft prepares to land at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Jet Airways Pilots Defer Agitation Plan Citing Border Tension

Jet Airways (India) Ltd.’s domestic pilots body National Aviators Guild deferred its proposed agitation from next month in view of the developments on the nation’s Western borders.

The Naresh Goyal-founded airline has 1,600 pilots, over 1,100 of whom are unionised and represented by the NAG.

Pilots had on Monday said that they would not perform additional duties and wear black bands from March to protest against salary delays. The airline has been delaying salaries to its pilots along with engineers and senior management since last August.

"As you are aware, we were planning a flight safety period from March 1. Everything, however, needs to be done at an appropriate time. The country is in a state of high alert following the events across the border. At a time like this, we need to stand united with the rest of the country," NAG said in a communication to its members.

"All are informed that the flight safety period and the black band protest has been called off till further notice," the guild added and expressed hope that all its members will see the reason in deferring the protest call and stand united behind the decision.

Meanwhile, the airline on Tuesday paid the balance 25 percent of the November salary and 12.50 percent of the December salary.

In a communique sent to pilots, NAG had on Monday said 25 percent of November salary along with 12.5 percent of December salary would be processed in February.

Also read: Jet Airways, Etihad Say Jet Will Re-Emerge As Viable, Robust Airline

Jet Airways has a debt of nearly Rs 8,200 crore and needs to make repayments of up to Rs 1,700 crore by March-end.

In the three months to December 2018, the airline reported the fourth consecutive quarterly net loss of Rs 732 crore. Due to liquidity crunch, the airline has defaulted on payment of principal and interest to a consortium of domestic banks besides payments to lessors and a section of employees.

On Feb. 14, the airline board approved a bank-led provisional debt resolution plan, whereby lenders would become the largest shareholders in the airline owning up 51 percent equity. But the plan is yet to get the final nod.

Its shareholders had last Thursday also approved conversion of debt into equity and other proposals during the extraordinary general meeting.