MUMBAI: Beleaguered private carrier Jet Airways on Tuesday said it has decided to ground 15 more aircraft due to non-payment of rentals to lessors. With the grounding of 15 more planes, the total number of planes which have been grounded by Jet Airways comes to 69.
The total fleet strength of Jet Airways is now only 20. It is to be noted that till March, Jet Airways, which is headquartered in Mumbai, had grounded 54 planes due to lease rental defaults. The cash-strapped airline is now under the new ownership.
".... an additional 15 aircraft have been grounded due to non-payment of amounts outstanding to lessors under their respective lease agreements," Jet Airways said in a filing to the stock exchanges.
Jet Airways had informed the government last week that it has 35 aircraft in operations, PTI reported.
A resolution plan was approved by the board of Jet Airways on March 25. The resolution plan - formulated by SBI-led domestic lenders - allows the lenders of Jet Airways to take control of the airline and infuse fund to the tune of Rs 1,500 crore.
Meanwhile, the domestic pilots union of Jet Airways, National Aviators Guild (NAG), on Tuesday wrote letter to DGCA and the airline's top management demanding interest on their delayed salaries and timely payment of salaries in the future.
The pilots said that the current situation is not "ideal" for them to fly the aircraft. The guild wrote separate letters to Director-General of Civil Aviation BS Bhullar and Jet Airways chief executive Vinay Dube. In the letter, the pilots said that they are finding it very tough to pay their EMIs and meet other financial commitments. The pilots and engineers of Jet Airways have salary arrears for three months, starting January.
"Non-payment of salaries is leading to extreme tension and frustration among us, which is hardly an ideal situation for pilots in the cockpits. EMIs, school and college fees to be paid along with medical bills of our ageing parents," said guild president Karan Chopra.
The guild reportedly represents around 1,100 of the 1,600 Jet pilots. It may be recalled that the guild had earlier warned to go on strike from April 1 if their salaries were not paid and clarity was provided by the management on future payments by March 31.
(with PTI inputs)