Operations at the Indian airline limp back to normal after the end of a strike
JET Airways' flights may have taken off on Sunday after the peace deal late on Saturday night, but the tussle between the management and pilots is not over yet. The issue took a new turn where both the parties have created a new conciliatory body without dissolving the newly-formed pilots union—National Aviators' Guild (NAG).
Jet's executive director Saroj Dutta said: "The management has come up with a conciliatory body, which will include two directors, two representatives from flight operations from the management side and five representatives from the pilots' side." The body will identify the issues and try to resolve them, Mr. Dutta said in Mumbai on Sunday.
The need for this body was to ensure that there is a continuous dialogue between the management and the pilots, the airline said. The company will also not pursue the pending contempt petition before the Bombay High Court which was to come up for hearing on Monday.
The president of NAG, captain Girish Kaushik, said the newly-formed pilots' union of Jet remains intact and would follow the law of the land. NAG was registered after a painstaking process with the Registrar of Trade Unions. The guild continues to exist as of now, he added.
"The management has completed all our demands and has got the terminated pilots back on the roster. We will remain intact and expect the law of the land to take its own course," captain Kaushik added.
Meanwhile, over 500 pilots, who reported 'sick', decided to resume their duties after a nine-hour-long meeting with the airlines management in Mumbai on Saturday night, which ended at 2.30 am, when airline management and the agitators finally reached a settlement.
Jet Airways' operations limped back towards normalcy on Sunday night. "The operations involving foreign destinations had resumed and flights on the domestic routes were expected to be normal in about two days," Jet's chief commercial officer Sudhir Raghavan said.
Interestingly, Jet Airways and Jet Konnect will offer a promotional fare with 50% discount on its total fare in economy class across all domestic flights. Passengers have to book these special tickets by Wednesday to avail of the offer. Jet Airways CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer said: "With these new low, limited-time fares, Jet welcomes travellers back aboard."
The five-day stir has cost the airline a loss of over Rs 2 billion ($40 million). The private carrier, which flies to London, New York, Toronto, Singapore and other international destinations, operates 365 domestic and 74 international flights daily.
"More than 1,000 flights were scrapped during the strike leading to daily revenue losses of about $2.2 million," vice president (commercial strategy and investor relations), KG Vishwanath said. The airlines book loads came down to 7,000 from 14,000 during the strike. Generally, it has ticket bookings of 24,000 per day. It has transferred 60% of traffic to other airlines during the strike.
On the other hand, Jet Airways has plans to raise capital through the sale of shares to institutions within the next three months. "We are planning a domestic issuance of shares through QIP route to deleverage our balance sheet, increase working capital and also strengthen our balance sheet," Mr. Vishwanath added.