Company denies taking any such decision
Jet Airways may have finally decided not to go ahead with a 15% cut in salaries of its pilots after facing stiff resistance from them, but it is likely to issue pink slips to about 500 of its ground services staff and also rationalise the number of its cabin crew on its Boeing and Airbus fleet, sources told FE. Jet Airways has an employee strength of 16,558, of which industry estimates peg the ground services staff to be around 5,000. This means Jet might look to retrench about 10% of its ground services employees. The approximate salaries for these employees , according to industry sources, is anywhere between Rs 10,000 to Rs 40,000 per month.
The airline, struggling with rising costs,crimping margins and stress on its balance sheet due to pricing pressures,will also look to rationalise its cabin crew strength per aircraft depending on the fleet type. Jet has a 120 aircraft mixed fleet of widebody Airbus A330s, Boeing 777s and single aisle Boeing 737s, along with regional jet ATRs 500/600.
For its single-aisle aircraft, Jet aims paring the number down from the current six to either five or four, depending on the sector the aircraft is deployed on. For the wide-body 777s, the number will be brought down from the current 13 cabin crew to 12 and for the Airbus from the existing nine to eight.
Sources said that the airline will look at not renewing the contracts of its senior cabin crew, relatively a more expensive resource than the fresher or mid-level ones. According to industry sources, on an average a senior cabin crew that flies international gets paid anything from Rs 70,000 to Rs 80,000 per month but a junior will be in the bracket of Rs 40,000-Rs 50,000. Similarly the senior crew doing domestic circuits will be paid Rs 50,000-60,000 and the junior ones around Rs 40,000.
An airline executive said that this rationalisation of cabin crew and also the firing of the ground services staff for Jet will negatively impact the service quality of the airline, which is a differentiator for a full-service carrier like Jet. In reply to a questionnaire from FE, a Jet Airways spokesperson said, “Jet Airways undertakes frequent review of service procedures and crew complement on aircraft.
Service consistency and guest delight is the cornerstone of all these reviews. Our crew complement on aircraft is well above regulatory requirements and in line with the best industry benchmarks. There is no retrenchment of crew at any point.”
On the specific point of issuing pink slips to 500 ground staff, the spokesperson said, “Jet Airways emphatically denies any conjecture of ground staff rationalisation, as is being speculated.”In FY2018, Jet’s staff salary and wage expenses were Rs 2995.35 crore. Bloomberg consensus estimates peg Jet losses at Rs 527.7 crore for Q1FY18/19, which will be announced on Thursday.