410 pilots resigned in last seven months according to National Aviators’ Guild. The promoter and founder Naresh Goyal on Monday resigned from the company’s board, giving up the chairmanship after more than 26 years. It is searching for buyers to avoid bankruptcy. The competitors are muscling up the territory through grabbing the newly vacant spots.
The cash-strapped Jet Airways’ misery is not ceasing to end.
As a question mark hangs over its revival, Jet Airways is now left with 1,527 pilots after seeing 410 co-pilots and captains leave in seven months. The airline’s pilots union, National Aviators’ Guild (NAG) has told members that plans for wet leasing some planes (where aircraft are taken by others along with operating crew) are being worked out. SpiceJet, Air India, and AI Express are planning to take Jet’s repossessed and grounded Boeing 737s and B777s.
After a meeting with Jet management, NAG said in a communication to members that 410 pilots had resigned between last September and March 31, 2019, and that the airline now has on its rolls about 1,527 pilots. “Wet lease plans are being looked at and clarity will be provided when modalities will be worked out and a concrete plan is available,” it said.
The promoter and founder Naresh Goyal resigned with 2 other directors. The official announcement says, “Resignation by Naresh Goyal, Anita Goyal, and Kevin Knight, as directors of the company, and induction of two nominee directors of lenders. Naresh Goyal will also cease to be the chairman of the Company.”
The board approved “immediate funding support” of up to Rs 1,500 crore by the lenders and conversion of banks’ debt into equity. The board also approved the induction of nominee directors of the lenders. Indian lenders, led by the State Bank of India (SBI), would become majority shareholders in the airline.
Jet Airways temporarily suspended operations last Wednesday. Lenders led by State Bank of India are undertaking a process to find a new buyer for the now-grounded airline. The outcome of that will be known by mid-May. A failure to find a buyer may land the airline in bankruptcy.
Jet Airways, the oldest surviving private airline which broke into a monopoly of Air India Ltd., had a fleet of 124 and flew profitable routes like connecting India, the fastest growing aviation market in the world, with London and Toronto. With nearly 23,000 jobs at stake, its collapse last week couldn’t have at a worse time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi who’s seeking a second term based on his business-friendly image.