Although Jet Airways employees have not been getting salaries for the last six months, they are hopeful that a co-ownership model which has not been ever tried by any airline in Asia will be their savior. In this model of revival of the airline, which stopped operating on 17 April, each and every Jet employee will have a stake.
Jet Airways Employees Consortium has joined hands with AdiGroup to bid for 75 per cent in the airline through the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) process. “We are delighted that AdiGroup stepped up to partner with us in this challenging yet exciting journey to revive Jet Airways,” said Captain Ashwani Tyagi of Jet Airways Employees Consortium.
Mr Ashish Mohanty, president of Jet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Welfare Association (JAMEWA), said it is in the interest of each and every employee that the airline doesn’t perish. “Apart from pilots and aircraft engineers, there are other employees including loaders and technicians.
They will not find jobs anywhere else. And the cabin crew who are more than 35 years old will not get jobs anywhere. Jet Airways is one of the biggest employers in the aviation industry. NCLT has itself accorded it the status of asset of national importance,” said Mr Mohanty.
The employees consortium includes two associations, Society for Welfare of Indian Pilots (SWIP) and Jet Airways Aircraft Maintenance Engineers’ Association (JAMEWA) among others. They will bid for 26 per cent of the airline along with Mr Sanjay Viswanathan owned AdiGroup of London which is going to bid for 49 per cent.
NCLT has begun the liquidation process of the airlines which takes 90 days. The debt owned by the airline is around Rs 25,000 crore. Of this, Rs 600 to Rs 700 crore is the salary arrears of the employees. Of the airline’s 27 lenders, SBI is the biggest.
AdiGro Aviation, a part of London-based AdiGroup, will bid for 49 per cent in the airlines. AdiGro Aviation chairman Sanjay Viswanathan said they are looking for more investors. There is a cap of 49 per cent on foreign direct investment.
Mr Viswanathan added that he has got assurances from the government that Jet Airways slots and flying rights will be returned. Earlier, these were distributed among its competition, including SpiceJet and IndiGo.
The employees are hopeful that NCLT will bring some relief to the employees in terms of salary. But the employees are ready to go without salary till the company turns around and each of the employees earn a dividend in the profit share. But that is still a long way to go.
There are many hurdles before the airline gets going. The air operators permit of the airline is going to expire on 16 July and the DGCA will have to extend that. The airline does not have most of the lucrative slots, especially those on Delhi-Mumbai sector. The employees consortium is hopeful of operating 69 aircraft of the fleet of 125 aircraft owned earlier.
The union hopes that air turbine fuel (ATF) comes under GST during this Budget. This will bring down the liabilities of the airlines by a large portion.
The new owners of the airline will also have to keep in mind that the airline has lost its clientele.