India economy aviation demo politics Jet
April 13 2019 - 5:38 PM
Employers at India's stricken Jet Airways protest
New Delhi, April 13, 2019 (AFP) - Several hundred employees of India's
beleaguered Jet Airways held a protest at Delhi airport on Saturday demanding
to be paid and calling for the company to be rescued.
Jet has been in a tailspin for months. All but around half a dozen of its
119 aircraft are grounded and all international flights are suspended until
Once India's second-biggest airline by market share, the Mumbai-based firm
has defaulted on loans and struggled to pay aircraft lessors and staff.
Thousands of customers have been stranded in recent weeks after hundreds of
flights were cancelled, in some cases with little or no notice.
"We need the infusion of funds today, not after one week when it's too
late," said Raman Sharma, a pilot at the protest.
"We need to get the funds back, pay the people, get the planes in the air,
make it convenient for passengers, and let's start earning revenue," he said.
"Now the feeling is also of despair, frustration. Like, we want our
salaries, at the same time we want to save our airlines," added Shilium S., a
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, for whom a collapse of Jet would
be a blow as it seeks a second term in ongoing elections, convened a crisis
meeting on Friday evening, the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency reported.
Close of play Friday was the deadline for prospective bidders to express an
interest in acquiring a 75 percent stake in Jet, which has debts of some $1
Etihad Airways, which owns a 24 percent stake, has submitted an expression
of interest to buy a controlling stake of up to 75 percent, according to media
Naresh Goyal, who founded the airline but quit as chairman last month, has
also lodged a bid, as have several private equity groups, newspapers said.