The Delhi High Court, on Wednesday, issued a notice to the beleaguered airlines Jet Airways in a plea seeking a full refund of airfare to passengers affected by the suspension of its services.
The court has also sought a reply from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Ministry of Civil Aviation while fixing the next date of hearing as July 16.
Jet Airways has been, for several months, struggling with a severe financial crunch due to which it had to cancel many of its flights. It could not pay salaries to its senior management, pilots, engineers, and other staffs since August due to paucity of funds.
According to industry estimates, Jet Airway’s total debt stood at Rs 8,000 crore till March 2019 while its pilots and crew had been approaching other airlines for employment, as reported by the industry insiders.
Naresh Goyal, the founder and promoter of Jet Airways, had resigned from the company’s board in March 2019 following a meeting of the board.
In March itself, the airline had suspended operations on many international routes even as it grounded several planes due to non-payment of rentals.
Earlier, the pilots’ grouping of Jet Airways had said that the airline is on the “verge of collapse” and that they are facing a lot of financial hardships without any relief in sight. Flagging concerns about non-payment of salaries, the National Aviators Guild (NAG) had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March.
About a fortnight back, the employees of Jet Airways wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking their intervention to recover outstanding dues as well as to expedite the process of emergency funds for the airline.
Vinay Dube, the CEO of the airlines, on April 26, told the employees that the lenders have so far provided no clarity on releasing emergency funds required to meet salary dues, thus hinting that they were unlikely to receive their salary dues till the stake sale process is completed.
The National Aviators Guild (NAG), which is the pilots’ union of Jet Airways, has said that a sum of Rs 175 crore is needed to pay employee salaries while the pilots had appealed to the State Bank of India (SBI) to release Rs 1,500 crore.
The payment of around 23, 000 employees, including pilots has been delayed.