Third Day of Jet-Pilot Stir; 230 Flights Cancelled

On the third day of en masse leave of pilots, Jet Airways have to cancel 230 flights giving passengers a harrowing time. None of the two sides show sign of loosening their stand.

In the wake of a meeting held last night between management and agitators resulting in no solution, pilots indicated that they would continue the agitation. Protestors also insisted that their trade union rights cannot be curtailed.

The deadlock continues in spite of five hours of talks between members of the National Aviators Guild (NAG), which is spearheading the stir, and the management through an interlocutor in Delhi. The Jet Airways does not recognize NAG and has described the agitation as illegal.

“We have cancelled 197 domestic and 37 international flights today,” Jet Airways General Manager (Flight Operations), E Sainath said in Mumbai.

It is expected the two sides would meet the Labour Commissioner in Mumbai where a case relating to firing of the two pilots for whose reinstatement the whole agitation is going is pending.

In the meanwhile, one of the sacked Jet pilots Capt Sam Thomas was quoted as saying by PTI, “The deadlock continues. There is nothing to say. No one has approached us for talks.”

Capt Thomas claimed that overall 500 pilots have reported sick.

Company’s international flights on South East Asia sector to Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore have been cancelled. Besides, flights to Gulf countries, the US and Europe, which operated yesterday, were also badly affected. Jet has also cancelled its flight to Dubai, Muscat, Kuwait, US and Europe.

Naresh Goyal, chairman of Jet Airways, had yesterday issued a stern warning to his pilots asking them to report to duty saying that company would otherwise hired expat pilots to get over the crisis.

In response to the query if Jet Airways would think of recruiting foreign pilots, he had said, “Yes … we will request the government authorities. There are enough pilots available in the world.”

He had also threatened disciplinary action against pilots, if they did not follow the law of the land.

Jet is contemplating seeking DGCA approval for inducting some spare pilots of its wholly-owned subsidiary, JetLite, into its own fleet to tide over the situation.

Jet Airways is making alternative arrangements on other airlines wherever possible and the airport teams of the airlines will assist its guests to the fullest extent.

The airlines has also tried to accommodate its passengers in its low-cost arm Jetlite.The airlines management has combined 12 Jet flights with JetLite.

To deal with the situation, the airlines has set up a crisis management centre which is continuously monitoring the situation. At the crisis centre, a team of 15 personnel from planning, revenue management and public relations is working round-the-clock to reschedule various flights and monitor the situation, the airline said.

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