Jet Airways crisis: Airline’s pilots union urges SC to direct SBI to release funds

The Jet Airways’ pilots union moved the Supreme Court on Tuesday with a plea to direct banks and lenders to release the interim funding to the debt-ridden airline. The union, National Aviator’s Guild (NAG) blamed State Bank of India (SBI) for the situation of the airline. The NAG also said that decisions like allotment of slots, deregistering of aircraft and giving them off to other airlines were taken without any regard for the future of the 22,000 employees.

The NAG said, “The value of Jet Airways has been deliberately eroded during the bidding process which should not have been done.”

“The livelihood of employees is directly affected and the respondents are taking steps prejudicial to the company. If the present situation continues there will be no option but to liquidate the company,” the NAG said in the petition that has the civil aviation ministry, aviation regulator, Jet Airways and airport operators as the respondents.

A letter written by SBI to CEO Vinay Dube is also part of the petition, as mentioned in a report in Business Standard. As per SBI’s letter, the refusal to release the Rs 1,500-crore interim funding was due to inordinate delay by Jet Airways’ management in creating security in favour of the bank. The letter was in response to a letter written by Dube requesting interim funds.

In a letter to the employees on May 7, Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal wrote, “…the sacrifices that you have made are greater and nobler by far. I have been learning through the media of the various peace marches outside various city airports and prominent landmarks and am deeply moved. This deeply decent, selfless and self-sacrificing act of yours is both venerable and humbling. My heart goes out to each and every one of you and I hope and pray that the Banks will finalise the bidders on the 10th of May and move forward in the interest of all employees, so that you can all return to work and resume normal lives with your salaries paid.”

Jet Airways suspended operations on April 17 after banks did not release funds. The airline has also not paid the staff salary and vendor dues for several months.

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