SBI, Ministry devise plan to pay Jet staff: Sources

New Delhi (IANS) The new interim management of the cash-strapped airline Jet Airways led by state-run SBI to oversee the daily operations and cash flow on Tuesday drew up a plan in consultation with the Civil Aviation Ministry to address the disbursal of pending salaries of employees, sources said.

With the airline's erstwhile promoter Naresh Goyal stepping down and State Bank of India (SBI) leading a consortium of banks to take charge of the interim committee, Rs 1,500 crore has been infused as an emergency funding by the lenders to attend to immediate issues. 

Jet Airways has been struggling with cash flows for the past six months because of rising fuel costs and intense competition. It has even delayed payment to lessors, airport operators, and oil marketing companies, besides a part of its workforce, to keep the company running.

Tuesday's meeting attended by representatives of the SBI, head of aviation regulator DGCA B.S. Bhullar, Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola and Jet CEO Vinay Dube also discussed the number of planes to be brought back into operations by the airline.

Moreover, the interim management committee of the airline comprising new nominees of the lenders is likely to be announced in a day or two, the sources said.

The Jet Airways pilots' union on Tuesday asked the new management "not to further delay the release of our pending salaries and clear our dues at the earliest."

Jet Airways domestic pilots have written to SBI seeking payment of salary dues. 

The pilot's guild had last week announced that it's over 1,100 members would stop flying from April 1 if their salary dues were not cleared and clarity on the carrier's revival roadmap was not provided by March 31.

The sources said that while Jet has been regular in payments to a large part of its workforce, it has been delaying salaries to the senior management people, pilots, and engineers since last August. These categories of staff have not been paid for almost four months now. 

Jet Airways' domestic pilot's body, the National Aviators Guild (NAG), on Tuesday sought a meeting with SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar over pending salaries, a day after the lenders took over the carrier founded by Naresh Goyal a quarter-century ago.

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