The five-day agitation by Jet Airways pilots owing allegiance to the National Aviators’ Guild was called off on Sunday morning after hectic talks between the management and Guild officials.
The pilots, including the four who were sacked, will resume duties. All international flights will resume immediately, and domestic flights by Monday afternoon.
A Jet Airways statement said an amicable agreement was reached and, effective Sunday, the airline would operate its full schedule of services in all sectors, with all crew members reporting for their normal rostered duties.
Prior to the stand-off, Jet’s revenue was around $8 million a day (Rs. 40 crore). It has lost Rs. 200 crore in five days. On an average, Jet carries 23,000 passengers a day, but bookings dropped to 14,000 on September 8, and further down to 7,000 by September 12.
Addressing journalists, Jet Executive Director Saroj Dutta said that after the discussions, a consultative group was put in place. It would include two Jet Airways Board members, the CEO, two representatives of flight operations and five representatives of the pilots. Captain Girish Kaushik, president of the Guild, apologised to the passengers for the hardship they faced and thanked the management for taking back the four sacked pilots.
Jet objected to the formation of the Guild, but Mr. Kaushik said his colleagues had worked hard to register it. “The Assistant Registrar of Companies has asked certain questions, and we will see how it goes. For the time being, the NAG is intact. The new consultative body will take care of the working of the airline, while the Guild will look after the pilots’ interests. There is no room for confusion.”
Mr. Dutta said the consultative body would address the issues of the management and pilots in every area of concern. “It will deal with almost all issues one would normally expect a union to deal with the management. There is no need for a union at all, as the consultative body will address all issues. However, we have just set up the body and are yet to work out the terms of reference; and, as we go along, we will internally finalise all the details.”
Jet’s Chief Commercial Officer Sudheer Raghavan told The Hindu: “We have immediately started international operations because most bookings were made more than a month ago. For domestic operations, all flights and pilots are available, but because of the situation and because bookings are made a week in advance, we will be operating at full capacity from late afternoon tomorrow [Monday]. In the past few hours though, there has been a ferocious rush for bookings.”