India's Jet Airways workers not paid, hopes for rescue

Business | 18 Apr 2019 8:23 pm

Creditors of India's beleaguered Jet Airways said they were "reasonably hopeful'' that a bidding process with potential investors for a controlling stake in the airline would save the company, while airline employees rallied in New Delhi and Mumbai for a government rescue. 
A consortium of 26 lenders led by the State Bank of India released a statement today following the cash-starved carrier's decision late yesterday to suspend flight operations. 
Jet Airways, once India's largest airline, was down to seven aircraft flying only domestic routes earlier this week. 
"Since no emergency funding from the lenders or any other source of funding was forthcoming, it would therefore not have been possible for us to pay for fuel or other critical services to keep the operations going,'' the airline's chief executive said in a statement published on the company's website. 
Zoya Shaikh, a 23-year-old Jet Airways airport agent, said at a gathering of employees outside the airline's Mumbai headquarters today that she was still waiting for this month's salary. 
"There is no clear idea of what is happening. We have been told by the airline management to wait for what the bidders plan to do,'' she said. 
Jet Airways pilots have complained that they haven't been paid in four months, and that more than 20,000 jobs are at stake. 
In New Delhi, hundreds of employees in uniforms _ including flight attendants in the airline's signature yellow _ appealed for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to step in, some holding signs that read, ``Save Jet Airways, save our family.'' 
"My kids are asking for medicine. Who do we go to and beg? If we don't ask the government, who do we ask?'' Rajender Kumar, a Jet Airways baggage handler, cried. 
Shares in the Mumbai-based airline were down 32.7 percent on the Bombay Stock Exchange at today's close. 
Travel agents in New Delhi said Jet Airways' grounding was affecting prices and availability of flights in and outside of India. -AP


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