New Delhi: Operating a highly truncated schedule, Jet Airways has now told its Boeing 737 pilots that they may take “long break/sabbatical” without pay up to September. The move comes after Jet sent all its expensive expat pilots on furloughs, or long leaves, without pay last week. Meanwhile, Jet’s pilot union on Tuesday wrote to aviation minister Suresh Prabhu requesting the government to ensure the airline pay salary dues of January, February and March with interest.
“We have received requests for extended time off due to changes in operational requirement including leave without pay from some pilots,” says a communique titled “intent — invite requests for leave without pay.”
“Due to changes in operational requirement, Boeing 737 flight crew will be assigned on a 5 day working and 3 day OFF roster from April 11 to April 26, 2019. Additionally, flight crew seeking a long break/sabbatical between April-September, 2019, may put in their requests to the fleet office for approval,” it says.
Jet is yet to pay salary of January, February and March to pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers (AME) and senior management team. The pilots and AMEs had threatened to strike work from April 1. When the airline promised to clear their 87.5% salary that is due of last December, they decided to defer the strike call up to mid-April.
The pilots say if Jet does not clear “substantial” part of their dues and give a clear roadmap for paying the remaining, they may strike work from April 15.
On Monday, Jet’s Indian pilots’ union, National Aviators’ Guild (NAG) wrote to aviation minister Suresh Prabhu saying, “The situation (three month dues) is leading to extreme tension and frustration among our members — hardly an ideal situation in the cockpit.” NAG has demanded that Jet must pay salary dues with interest from the time the same were to be paid and when they actually are.
02/04/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India