The Government on Wednesday announced that the cash-strapped Jet Airways was currently operating less than 15 aircraft as the airline on Tuesday grounded as many as 15 more planes due to lease rental defaults, despite the SBI-led consortium of lenders taking over its management control last month.

Ministry of Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said the airline’s eligibility to fly internationally needs to be examined.

In another development, its pilot’s body, the National Aviators’ Guild has written to the aviation regulator DGCA and airline chief executive Vinay Dube, pressing for payment of three months of salary dues along with applicable interest.

The 25-year-old airline also said it is making all efforts to minimise flight disruptions due to the grounding of these planes. Till last month, the airline had taken 54 planes out of operations due to lease rental defaults.

It has suspended operations on as many as 13 more international routes till end-April. Besides, the airline has also reduced frequencies on seven other overseas routes, mostly from Delhi and Mumbai, according to airline sources.

The airline has been operating over 650 flights across the country and the continents.

Last week, the airline had informed the government it had only 35 aircraft in operations.

On March 25, Jet Airways board had approved a resolution plan formulated by SBI-led domestic lenders, under which had agreed to infuse an emergency funding of Rs 1,500 crore into the airline, and convert the same into equity worth 50.1 per cent for a notional value of just Re 1 each share.

However, the funds are yet to be disbursed due to “technical” reasons.

The pilots along with engineers and have salary arrears for three months, starting January, which stand Rs 320-350 core.

Earlier, the pilots’ body had warned that they would stop flying from April 1 unless there is clarity on the resolution process and salary dues by the end of March.

Amid mounting dues, the airline Tuesday reportedly offered leave without pay to its Boeing 737 pilots to restrict the spiralling outstanding salary dues. In addition, they have been given three-days off after five days of work from April 11 to 26 as against two- days off for a six-day work earlier.