Jet employees propose to rescue airline with plans to raise funding to buy management control

Employees of the debt-ridden Jet Airways stage a demonstration appealing the Central Government to save the airline, at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, on April 24, 2019.IANS

Sensing the options to revive the grounded Jet Airways are fast running out, a group of airline employees has written to SBI seeking permission to allow a consortium of employees and external investors to bid for the management control of the company.

The employee representatives have said they will secure an investment of up to Rs 3,000 crore from "outside investors."

The associations that have sent the proposal are Society for Welfare of Indian Pilots (SWIP) and Jet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers's Welfare Association (JAMEWA).

The associations have promised that employees would contribute towards revival of the airline from their future earnings and increased productivity.

"As per our initial estimate. the contribution of employee group over a hypothetical 5-year Employee Stock Ownership Programme (ESOP) is likely to upward of Rs 4,000 crore," a joint letter to SBI Chairman stated.

They said that the decision has been taken through extensive discussion with various employee groups across the company, and also with colleagues who have in the past successfully held senior management positions.

"We recognize that legacy issues of high operating costs, overstaffing, unfavourable vendor/lease agreements and adverse debt/equity ratio etc are involved," the proposal letter said.

The associations have also urged the lenders to ensure the process of de-registration of aircraft and re-allocation of airport slots be immediately reversed.

"...if not reversed quickly, (it) would spell doom for any future prospects of reviving the company," the associations warned.

Lenders of Jet Airways led by SBI are currently in the process of selling the airline to recover their dues of over Rs 8,400 crore.

Private equity firm TPG Capital, Indigo Partners, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and Etihad Airways are in the race to buy a stake in the grounded Jet Airways.
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