Jet Airways pilots on Tuesday decided not to fly from April 1 if the company has not clear their pending salaries by March 31, said sources familiar with the matter.
Jet Airways’ domestic pilots' body National Aviator’s Guild (NAG) on Tuesday held its annual general meeting and decided that if there is no proper clarity on resolution process, salary payment by March 31 then they will stop flying from next month, sources told CNBC-TV18, requesting anonymity.
"We are conducting a silent march now. Around 300 pilots are going to Siroya, our office..." one of the pilots attended the meeting said.
The meeting came in the backdrop of drastically reduced operations and non-payment of salaries to pilots along with engineers and other senior staff for more than three months now.
The guild, which came into being almost a decade ago, represents around 1,000 domestic pilots at the airline.
The pilots with other group of people have not received salary payments almost since December.
Having failed to get any assurance from the management on payment of overdue salaries, the
pilots' body last week wrote to union labour minister Santosh Gangwar, seeking his intervention in recovering their dues along with the accumulated interest.
CNBC-TV18 reviewed a copy of the letter.
In the letter, which was also marked to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the union warned the government and the regulator that the pilots of the airline are getting increasingly frustrated as salaries have not been paid on time and in full since September and at present, 87.5 percent of December and full salaries of January and February amount to outstanding dues.
"This situation is leading to extreme tension and frustration amongst our members, hardly an ideal situation for pilots in the cockpit. Monthly EMIs have to be met, school and college fees paid, along with medical bills of ageing parents," the union had said in the letter.
While the airline's management had earlier indicated that pending salaries will be paid by March and the salary schedule would get normalised from April, the situation has taken a turn for the worse.
"All pleas to the management in this regard have fallen on deaf ears," the pilot union wrote to the government, demanding that the pilots now want the airline to pay the pending salaries along with interest.
"That M/s. Jet Airways pay to the member Pilots the arrears of salary (inclusive of all allowances) due to date and pay interest thereon at commercial rate from the date due till realisation and hereinafter pay the full salary (inclusive of all allowances) on the 1st day of every month) and for any salaries paid after the said due date, pay interest thereon at commercial rate from the date due till realisation," the letter said.
The letter brings out a sorry state of affairs at the airline which has often been tagged as the most popular airline among pilots.
The Naresh Goyal-promoted Jet Airways, which is partially owned by UAE flag carrier Etihad, is in financial distress for almost a year now with four consecutive quarters of losses.
The severe liquidity crunch has forced it to ground aircraft, cancelling flights in huge numbers, shut down stations and delay salary payments to a group of staff.As per DGCA, the airline is
currently operating 41 planes or 34 percent of its total fleet of 119 Aircraft.