Jet Airways relaunch hits turbulence: CEO confirms salary cut, leave without pay

Once a celebrated airline, Indian carrier Jet Airways has hit another roadblock ahead of its relaunch, leaving many of its employees with reduced salaries and on leave without pay.

The company’s CEO Sanjiv Kapoor confirmed in a series of tweets that the measures will be effective from December 1. The move came to light hours after its winning-bidder, the Jalan-Kalrock Consortium (JKC) announced it may have to take “some difficult but necessary near-term decisions” to manage cash flows.

The pay cut is said to be up to 50 per cent, news agency PTI reported, and the quantum would be higher for the CEO and CFO.

Kapoor, however, clarified in one of the tweets that “no one is being fired”. The airline has around 250 staff.

Jet Airways, which used to be one of the most popular airlines, shuttered operations in April 2019 after running into debt. In June last year, JKC came aboard with a resolution plan under the insolvency process, green signalled by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). It got the civil aviation regulator’s clearance in May this year.

The airline was scheduled to resume operations in September, which got postponed to October, but it is yet to hit the engine again.

‘Team working to revive’

Clearing the air about numbers and figures circulating on the internet, Kapoor said that only a small portion of the total employees – less than 10 per cent, he noted – will be on a temporary leave without pay and one-third would be on temporary pay reduction. “60% people including senior management being put on leave without pay is 100% false,” he said, replying to a Twitter user.

“These are all good people who have been working hard to try to do what has never been done before: revive an airline that has gone bankrupt. However with the ownership transfer timeline slipping due to factors outside our control, some temporary hard decisions had to be taken.

“The team working to revive Jet was not responsible for Jet running out of cash and suspending operations. They are trying to revive the airline using fresh capital, to give consumers more choices, to create more jobs and bring back old jobs. They deserve our full appreciation,” the CEO clarified.

Under scanner

Kalrock Capital’s promoter Florian Fritsch has recently come under the lens of regulatory agencies in Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Austria, PTI reported.

Moreover, last month, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) directed the consortium to pay the unpaid provident fund and gratuity dues of employees of the carrier.

The consortium still remains committed to the airline’s revival, it said in a statement, adding that significant progress had been made to relaunch the airline.

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