21 March, 2019

More aircraft grounded at the Jet Airways because of lack of payment

Photo Jet Airways
The crisis surrounding Indian airline Jet Airways continues to deepen as the financially haemorrhaging air carrier grounds another six aircraft, cuts schedules and seems to be spiralling out of control.

The airline has debts that go way beyond $1billion, that's around £750 million and has been forced to cut, halt or delay payments to suppliers, staff and the leasing firms that supply most of its aircraft. It is understood that more than 50 of its fleet have been grounded because of non-payment of leases and more are likely to follow if April payments are not made in just over a weeks time.

Pilot unions have also warned the carrier that if its members were not paid in full at the end of March, they would no longer turn up to work from 1st April.  Many of the airline's staff have not been fully paid since December.  The Jet Aircraft Engineers Welfare Association (JAMEWA) that represents the airline's maintenance works had a very stark warning Jet Airways management as well as the travelling public. They advised the lack of proper payment would affect heir "psychological condition" saying, "Therefore the safety of public transport aeroplanes being flown by Jet Airways across India and the world is at risk." 

It is also understood that Etihad, the Abu Dhabi based carrier that had been supporting Jet Airways and owns 24% of the company is now seeking to offload that shareholding as soon as possible. 

If that wasn't bad enough for Jet, according to some local commentators, a rescue package by the Indian government and two national banks has fallen at the last fence, perhaps due to the management structure at the airline. 

The future for the airline is now looking decidedly uncertain and unless there are big changes inside the company, incredibly bleak.