200 Jet Airways pilots may switch to SpiceJet, IndiGo cockpits

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Naresh Goyal’s possible departure notwithstanding, Jet Airways may be headed for more trouble as over 200 pilots may resign depending on the outcome of the March 25 board meeting. Its pilots have offers from SpiceJet or IndiGo, sources told Moneycontrol. The airlines have promised pilots a base city of their choice, besides a two-month base salary as a joining bonus, they stated.

The pilots may be inclined to take up the SpiceJet offer as the airline’s aircraft mix is similar to that of Jet Airways. On the other hand, accepting an IndiGo package means the pilots will have to undergo retraining, which may require them to sign a three-year bond to service the carrier, sources said. IndiGo, which has been expanding its fleet at a rate never seen before in the industry, is facing a shortage of pilots, mainly captains.

About 260 pilots, including 150 captains, attended interviews organised by SpiceJet in Mumbai last week for Boeing 737 rated captains, non-type rated captains and first officer with frozen airline transport pilot licence (ATPL).

Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita are expected to step down from the board of cash-strapped airline on March 25, sources told Moneycontrol. Chief Executive Vinay Dube is expected to stay on board the 25-year-old airline Goyal set up with his wife in 1993.

Also ReadJet Airways founder Naresh Goyal to quit as Chairman today

Jet Airways has a Rs 8,000 crore debt and has not been able to furnish instalments for loan repayment, which led to the grounding of over 75 aircraft in its fleet. Many of its pilots have got truncated rosters in March.

The financial woes have also led to non-payment of pilot salaries. The distressed airline, which is urgently seeking a resolution plan to overcome serious liquidity crunch, has been delaying salaries to its pilots. At present, a major chunk of the December salary, and that of January and February are pending. In fact, the pilots have threatened to stop flying from April 1, if the dues are not cleared by March-end.

On March 20, Moneycontrol reported that Jet Airways’ lenders had worked out an alternate rescue plan for the debt-ridden airline, which involves taking majority control and reconstituting the entire board of the country’s second largest carrier.

With just 6 days left to the end of this financial year, lenders are in a rush to seal a resolution plan. They have asked Goyal to step down immediately and make way for a new management. As per the plan, Goyal’s stake will likely be capped at 10 percent by diluting the rest at nominal value.

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