Jet Airways crisis: Wings clipped, a thousand splendid dreams fall apart

Jet Airways employees and their families protest at Jantar Mantar in support to save the airlines from shutdown in New Delhi.  

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Jet Airways employees stage protest, demand release of funds from banks

Nearly 300 Jet Airways employees staged a protest at Jantar Mantar on Thursday, a day after the airline temporarily suspended its flight operations. The protesters expressed their anger against the consortium of banks led by SBI for not releasing funds for the airline and appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene. To most, the airline is like a second home and, therefore, they say that they are willing to forego salaries unpaid for several months to see Jet Airways take to the skies again.

SHANKAR CHAKRAVARTYSenior Assistant Engineer, 50 yearsShankar Chakravarty has been working with Jet Airways since its inception in 1993. He takes home a monthly salary of ₹80,000 but has not received any payment since March. The airline’s financial mess has forced him to withdraw money from his provident fund account to meet expenses towards house rent and tuition fees for his 11-year-old and 18-year-old children. Providing medical care for 70-year-old mother has also become a challenge. With the Jet Airways announcing shutting down of operations, he wonders who will now interact with the employees.

RAMAN RAJPUTCabin Crew, 26 yearsWhen Raman Rajput joined Jet Airways, he dreamt of flying across the world and meeting people from different cultures. Barely three years into the job, he now stares at an uncertain future. The airline is on a ventilator and the government must save it while there is still time, he appeals. Raman is also angry as a voter at a time elections are under way.

MONIKA BAKSHICustomer Service Assistant, 42 yearsMonika is a single parent to her 12-year-old son. She, too, has not been paid since March and the future looks dim. Ms. Bakshi says at Jet Airways she earns ₹40,000 per month but with salaries not being paid, she has been struggling to pay her son’s school fees as well as buy books and uniform for the new academic year. She also fears that if she is forced to look for another job, other airlines will not be able to match the salary she is currently drawing.

DESHPREET SINGHFirst-Officer or co-pilot,29 yearsAs every young pilot, Deshpreet Singh who flies a Boeing 737, dreams of being a commander one day and move on to a bigger aircraft. But in order to accomplish that he must accumulate the mandatory flying hours. With the airline being grounded the future looks hazy. The temporary shutdown announced by the airline is a professional setback to this young aspirant whose parents spent a fortune on his training. He says he is not willing to look for a job yet out of loyalty to a very fine airline that allowed employees a work-life balance.