Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on Tuesday directed his ministry’s secretary to hold an emergency meeting on the debt-ridden Jet Airways massively cancelling flights after grounding of a large part of its fleet.
The minister’s direction came in the wake of the airliner drastically reducing its operations due to liquidity crunch.
“Directed Secretary, @MOCA GOI to hold an emergency meeting on grounding of flights by Jet Airways, advance bookings, cancellations, refunds and safety issues, if any,” Prabhu said in a tweet.
“Asked him (civil aviation secretary) to get a report on Jet compliance issues immediately from DGCA,” he added.
Cash-strapped Jet Airways had on Monday said it had grounded four more planes, taking the number of aircraft that are non-operational due to non-payment of lease rentals to 41.
The airline’s aircraft maintenance engineers’ union wrote to the aviation regulator on Tuesday that three months of salary was overdue to them and flight safety “is at risk”.
“It has been arduous for us to meet our financial requirements, result of which have adversely affected the psychological condition of Aircraft Engineers at work and therefore the safety of public transport airplanes being flown by Jet Airways across India and the world is at risk,” the Jet Aircraft Engineers Welfare Association (JAMEWA) said in a letter to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
“While the senior management is finding a resolution to be in business, we the engineers who inspect, troubleshoot and certify the public transport airplanes for its airworthiness are in tremendous stress due to non-payment of salaries on time, since last 7 months. As of now, 3 month’s salary is overdue to us,” the letter read.
According to the Jet Airways’ website, the airline has a fleet of 119 planes. For the past few weeks, passengers have been venting their ire on social media as the airline’s flight cancellations have increased gradually due to the rising number of grounded aircraft. Grappling with financial woes, the carrier has been looking at ways to raise fresh funds.