No pilots, less routes: Jet Airways woes deepen
Between December 2 and 3, 2018, the second biggest Indian airline Jet Airways has been forced to cancel fourteen flights due to several pilots taking a sudden sick leave. But the disease has been festering for a while within the company…
On November 30, 2018, Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube was confident that the recent financial trouble in which its company finds itself would not affect the operations of the airline.
But the following weekend, pilots reported sick, prompting Jet Airways to cancel fourteen flights. The airline blamed the canceled flights on “an unforeseen operational circumstance”. Flight crews were, in fact, protesting unpaid salaries.
Some managers, pilots and engineers have not been paid since September, with some receiving only part of their wage in August, according to local media NDTV. The flight crews also pointed at the National Aviator's Guild (NAG), which seems reluctant to bring the matter to their management. Jet Airways had previously promised it would pay employees their August salaries over the next three months, which it seemingly failed to do. The airline let go 36 people since then.
On November 3, 2018, Indian Media the Telegraph reported that Jet Airways planned on closing several routes towards the Gulf countries. In total, about 39 weekly flights should disappear. “Jet Airways has decided to withdraw its services to Doha from Kochi, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram as well as to Abu Dhabi from Lucknow and Mangalore. Besides, the airline will also not operate on Mangalore-Dubai route,” a source said, adding “All these services are being taken out of operations from December 5.”
Meanwhile, the airline announced that it would add 65 new weekly flights mainly on its domestic network, according to NDTV.
In its latest financial report, released in September 2018, Jet Airways reported a loss of approximately $170 million (INR 12.97 billion) after tax. The airline expects Etihad Airways, which owns 24% stake, to acquire more shares in order to generate some cash. It will also stop providing free meals to domestic economy class passengers from January 2019.