Jet Airways pilots have threatened to decline extra flying duties if pending salary dues aren’t cleared by the end of November. Over 25 flights were cancelled by the airlines as the pilots called-in sick on Monday. However, the airline claimed that the pilots were not reporting to duty but due to an error in the roster.
In reaction to the non-payment of salaries on time, pilots reporting sick had caused Jet Airways to cancel 10 flights on Sunday. The shortage of pilots, especially on Boeing 737 of the airlines, often spring-up situations to call-in stand-by pilots to operate the flights.
The airline in a statement said, “Jet Airways refutes both the number as well as the indicated cause of some of its flights that were cancelled on Monday. The cancellations were a result of a system error instead of pilot non-cooperation as is being conjectured. The Company’s operations continue as per schedule.”
“All employees of the Company, including its pilots and engineers, continue to actively cooperate to ensure its successful operations. Your query on the airline’s pilots reporting sick and impacting its operations are speculative,” the statement added.
According to reports, National Aviator’s Guild, the airline’s pilots union informed its members orally about the decision and is expected to recommend a suitable arrangement with the management. However, a Jet Airways executive refuted any such arrangement. “The NAG, in fact, has asked its members to support the management, which is trying to revive the airline. The pilots are acting independently, which is impacting operations,” said another executive to the media.
The lowering for flight fares and rising crude prices along with fall in market value of Indian rupee has put Jet Airways in a tough financial situation. It has faced a loss of about Rs 2,500 crore during the first half of the current fiscal and is talking to buyers for a possible stake sale. It had informed stock exchanges of its plan to sell a stake in the frequent flyer business, JetPrivilege.
The airline is yet to pay a month’s salary and 75 per cent of another month’s salary to its pilots, reports say.