‘Gave Our Blood, Soul to Jet Airways, See it Dying Now’: Employees

Vishal Chauhan, 18/04/2019
‘Gave Our Blood, Soul to Jet Airways, See it Dying Now’: Employees

“We gave our blood and soul to this airline and are now seeing it dying in front of our eyes. Mr Goyal said Jet is like his baby. How can someone leave a baby to strangulate to death?

Captain Rohit Chowdhury, who has worked with Jet Airways for almost 20 years, told The Quint, turning emotional over the news of the cash-strapped airline temporarily grounding operations completely.

And he’s not the only one. More than 20,000 jobs are at stake.

Jet Airways’ employees and their families will be holding a march at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Thursday, 18 April, to appeal to the government to take steps to bail out the airline.

Teetering for over four months due to cash-drought, Jet Airways, flying for over 25 years, on Wednesday, 17 April, said its last flight will take off later that night after its lenders refused to offer an Rs 400-crore lifeline.

‘No Salaries For Pilots The Last Three Months’

Upset with the fate of the airline, Chowdhury added, “SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar said that they will infuse Rs 1,500 crore. Where is that money? You ask me to ride a plane through a thunderstorm, I can do it. But these people who had a job to do let their greed take over. Every day we were given new hopes but nothing came into action.”

Many other employees have been left rudderless by the airline shutting its operations.

Asim Valiani, a Senior Commander at Jet Airways, told ANI, “Pilots have not received their salaries for the last three and a half months. With regard to other staff, one month’s salary is pending.”

He added that employees were living under stress, and some of them had begun suffering from depression as they faced commitments such as looking after their aged parents and their medical bills, educational loan payments, children’s fees etc.

“People have taken loans, housing loans. Their EMIs are bouncing because they don’t have the money to pay. Some of our first officers have taken loans to learn flying and then spent money on their training within Jet Airways. Some people have taken loans up to Rs 1 crore for their education and now they don’t have money to pay their EMIs”, he said.

Employees Suffering From Chest Pain’

Valiani said that they had been receiving multiple phone calls, many of them complaining about employees suffering chest pain. Heart attacks had also been reported, he added, likely due to stress.

“They are not able to understand how, after 25 years, they are expected to begin their lives and careers anew. There aren’t that many jobs and many people will have to leave their families behind and go to other cities for new jobs. All of this is stressful,”

    “After spending so much time at Jet, a feeling of being a family had been created. Now that people are having to leave, the reality has not sunk in that they have lost their jobs and that their airline is shutting down. Nobody had ever imagined this would happen.”

- Asim Valiani to ANI

Captain Parakshit Joshi, a pilot with the airline, had similar feelings about the airline grounding its operations. He agreed that all pilots spent a lot of money on their training.

“Not everyone comes from an affluent family. They’ve taken loans and are now paying off their EMIs. So they are all in difficulties,” Joshi told ANI.

He said that pilots both in their early 20s and their late 50s and 60s have their own commitments to fulfil and had planned their lives accordingly.

“This is a very unfortunate situation,” he said, adding that despite their difficulties, the pilots were still showing concerns over difficulties faced by Jet’s passengers as well.

‘Father’s Job Loss Will Mean Compromising Our Dreams’

Sanjana Singh, daughter of a Jet Airways’ employee, wrote in a petition that her father has been associated with the airline for more than 20 years and the loss of his job will make it quite difficult to even pursue her education.

Singh has started a ‘change.org’ petition which has garnered more than 18,000 supporters.

“But at this stage, loss of his job will be a huge setback for our family. We would need to compromise with our dreams and aspirations,” she said in the petition titled ‘Saving future of 16,000 Jet Airways employees’.

Singh has also sought instant financial help for the airline from the government.

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