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Jet pilots firm on word from SBI on payment

New Delhi: A majority of Jet Airways pilots on Saturday said they needed an assurance from the State Bank of India (SBI) over the dues clearance to prevent their going on a mass leave.

A senior pilot told IANS: “We need direct assurance from the new management, which is led by the SBI.”

“The assurance should be about the date on which our dues will be paid and clarity regarding the future of the airline. If such an assurance is given, we might rethink the issue of mass leave,” the pilot said.

According to other pilots, the airline has less than 30 aircraft in operation and that even the AMEs (aircraft maintenance engineers) are with them on the proposed mass leave issue.

Pilots, including AMEs, have not been paid for the last 4 months.

On Monday, a consortium of banks, led by the SBI, had agreed to infuse extra cash into the company.

A senior NAG (National Aviator’s Guild) committee member told IANS in Mumbai: “If such an assurance is given than the committee will ask pilots to take a call — it will depend on what the majority wants.”

On its part, Jet Airways said it has the requisite number of aviators to manage the fleet under operation. “Operations on Monday are unlikely to be impacted,” a senior airline official told IANS.

“We have taken a note of the advisory sent by a section of pilots. We are engaged with them and hope to receive their complete support,” the official said.

On dues, the official said everyone would be paid, but it might get delayed for few days. “There is a delay due to the March fiscal end, severely compounded by the weekend,” he said.

In a statement, the airline said it remained committed to honour its obligations towards all its employees, including pilots and engineers.

“The board along with lenders, are working towards a strong turnaround plan, which will enable the airline to restore normalcy to its operations,” the statement said.

The airline also expressed gratitude towards pilots, engineers and members of senior management for their “patience and understanding during these trying times.”

The non-cooperation call was made by members of the Jet Airways Pilots’ Union, which decided to refrain from operating flights if their dues were not cleared and clarity on the company’s resolution plan were not shred with them by March 31.

Source: IANS

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