National Aviatior’s Guild (NAG), a group of over 1,000 domestic pilots of Jet Airways, will meet the airline’s management Friday to discuss salary payment issue, airline sources said. The meeting comes ahead of the payment of the balance amount of the second instalment of August salaries of the senior management, pilots and engineers on October 9. The management is likely to be represented by chief executive Vinay Dube, chief people’s officer Rahul Taneja and executive vice-president for flight operations Nikhil Ved, at the meeting, the sources said. “We are meeting the management tomorrow over salary payments. Last time, despite giving a time schedule for August salary, the airline did not make full payment of the second instalment and communicated to us only at the last moment about its postponement. We don’t want a repeat of that situation,” a pilot told PTI.
The Naresh Goyal-controlled airline, in which Etihad Airways holds 24 per cent stake, has been going through financial turbulence for quite some time now, with two back-to-back quarterly losses this year. It’s also struggling to raise the required capital to meet its various payment obligations, including salaries to over 16,000 employees. On September 6, the airline informed that its senior management, pilots and engineers will receive their salaries in two instalments till November.
The salaries for August was to be paid in two instalments – half by September 11 and the other half by September 26. Though the airline paid the first tranche on time, it could make only partial payment of the second instalment on the designated date and deferred the rest of the payment to October 9. Before meeting the management, the Guild will have its internal discussions to decide its further course, said another pilot.
“Had the management paid fully on September 26, it would have become current on payment quite to an extent. But at this stage, apart from entire September salary, we have a quarter of the salary pending from August as well,” said another pilot.
The Kingfisher Airline fiasco is also on “our mind”, the pilot said, adding, “We don’t want a situation like that at all.” It may be recalled that before fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines went belly up in 2012, it had started defaulting on payments to various vendors, financial institutions and the employees. The erstwhile airline owes over Rs 300 crore its nearly 3,000 unpaid employees in the country.