Jet executives meet Jaitley, urge salary payment

New Delhi (IANS) Senior executives of grounded Jet Airways met the Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Friday and requested him to direct the banks to release at least one month’s salary.

Jet has not paid salaries of a large number of its employees for the last three months, causing huge financial distress to them. The carrier last week suspended its entire operations for want of cash and is unlikely to clear employee dues anytime soon.

The airline executives also appealed to expedite the bidding process for the airline’s stake sale and ensure transparency in the procedure.

Speaking to IANS, National Aviator’s Guild Vice President Captain Asim Valiani said the Finance Minister assured them that he would look into all issues raised by the airline employees.

“We have not got any firm commitment from the Finance Minister on payment of one month’s salary, but he told us that all the issues would be looked into,” Valiani said after the meeting with Jaitley.

The airline executives accompanied by Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungatiwar also urged the minister to ensure that Jet Airways’ slots are protected. Jet CEO Vinay Dube and CFO Amit Agarwal were present in the meeting.

“We urged him to protect our slots so that there is something for the new buyers. We also requested that Jet Airways’ aircraft do not get de-registered and go elsewhere,” Valiani said.

“The Finance Minister said he would like to see Jet Airways is revived,” the senior pilot said.

Jet Airways had on Wednesday night suspended its operations indefinitely. The airline’s revival now depends on successful stake sale initiated by the lenders led by SBI. In an official statement, the airline lenders led by SBI has said that they are ‘reasonably hopeful’ that the stake sale process would succeed and determine fair value of the enterprise.

As per industry sources, private equity firms TPG Capital, Indigo Partners and the NIIF and Etihad Airways are in the race to buy a stake in the grounded carrier.

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