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15 APRIL 2019
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More than 1,000 pilots and engineers at India’s oldest private airline, Jet Airways, stopped work from midnight last night, Sunday, in effect grounding the airline. The action was in protest at lack of government action to help the debt-ridden company.
The stoppage was announced by officials of the National Aviators Guild, the Union for Jet Airways pilots. Personnel involved were due to meet this morning, Monday, to take a formal collective decision.
Guild chairman Captain Karan Chopra said pilots and engineers had not been paid for three months and the government should step in now.
The crisis at Jet came to a head last month (BTN 25 March) when the extent of the carrier’s $1.2bn debt was revealed following the suspension of 12 international flights including the newly-introduced Manchester – Mumbai service.
Most of the remaining international flights were halted last week, with the Indian government, which is facing elections, promising to “review the issues”. A bridging loan agreed as part of an earlier rescue deal was also said not to have been paid.
Jet Airways’ three slots at Heathrow, originally owned by Jet, bought by Etihad then leased back to Jet, have transferred back to Etihad, adding to the four the Middle East carrier already has. This could open up new international flights, or allow Etihad to lease them to another airline.
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