Hyderabad, Mar 21 (UNI/IBNS): All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) on Thursday said banks should not become the owner of ailing Jet Airways as running the airlines was the business of the company and its management.
'When Jet Airways was making profits, the profits went into the pocket of the owners. When it is in loss, why should public money and banks’ money be spent to save them?" AIBEA general secretary Ch Venkatachalam said in a release.
Saying whatever loan they had taken from the banks should be repaid, he said: "On the contrary it is reported that the shares of Jet Airways are sought to be dumped on the shoulders of the banks. Even Etihad Airlines wants its shares to be purchased by the banks," Venkatachalam said.
He said they were also reports quoting SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar that it was in "everybody’s interest" to keep the airline flying.
The Union leader said: "We totally disagree with such proposals and attempts of the banks to purchase the shares of this ailing airline with a view to save the company at the cost of public money."
Jet Airways crisis
The cash-strapped Jet Airways is currently operating only 41 aircraft and the number may fall further in the coming weeks, the DGCA has said.
Adding to the airline's problems, its pilots, who haven't been receiving salaries for months, have threatened to stop flying from April 1 if they don't see a concrete rescue plan in place by March 31, reports said.
"It is not about the salary right now, it is about whether we are going to survive," a pilot told ET Now.
The airline's maintenance engineers' association had reportedly written to the DGCA that "it has been arduous to meet financial requirements, which has adversely affected the psychological condition of Aircraft Engineers and therefore the safety of public transport airplanes being flown by Jet Airways across India and the world is at risk."
The DGCA said in a statement: "Current availability of aircraft in the fleet for operation is 41 and accordingly schedule for 603 domestic flights and 382 international flights per week has been drawn. However, it is a dynamic situation and there may be further attrition in coming weeks."
India's civil aviation watchdog is keeping a close watch on Jet Airways to ensure it follows rules on timely communication to passengers on cancellation, refunds and accommodating passengers on alternative flights where possible.
In Feb, Naresh Goyal and Etihad CEO had shared revival plan for Jet Airways
Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal and Etihad Airways CEO Tony Douglas, in a joint statement in February, had said the airline and its partners were making every effort to see the airline through its current financial crisis and so that it could "reclaim its rightful place as airline of first choice for its customers".
"In the last year the aviation industry has experienced extraordinary headwinds and challenges. Rising oil prices, a depreciating rupee and market saturation, among other things, have combined to critically impact the civil aviation sector as a whole," the statement said. "Some airlines have been hit harder than others; Jet Airways... being one of them."
Despite the problems, the airline did its best to serve passengers, the statement claimed.
"Jet Airways, its principal shareholders including Etihad Airways, and key financial stakeholders are working towards the finalisation and subsequent implementation of the Bank-led Provisional Resolution Plan (BLPRP), to ensure that the carrier emerges as a financially strong and resilient airline," it said.
"We are confident that once the BLPRP is finalized and implemented, Jet Airways will reemerge as a viable and robust airline to reclaim its rightful place as airline of first choice for its customers," it had added.