Get, jet, go

Cash-strapped Jet Airways Thursday grounded its services to and from the East and Northeast regions. It also suspended its international operations for a day. Consequently, many passengers were left stranded at the airports.

According to reports, the airline now owes more than Rs 3,500 crore to passengers on account of flight cancellations alone. As of Thursday noon, the airline operated just 14 planes – way down from 123 planes in operations at the peak.

In another development, Jet Airways pilots union National Aviators Guild (NAG) in a communication to its around 1,100 members late Thursday night, said it will go ahead with the ‘no flying’ call from 15 April if the pending salaries are not cleared by Sunday. These things show all is not well in the country’s aviation industry in general and in Jet Airways in particular. With a few more airllines shutting their operations already, the latest issue involving Jet will only make things worse and put the plans to make air-travel accessible to all a distant dream.

Meanwhile, in a welcome move, the government has stepped in. Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu today directed Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola to review issues concerning Jet Airways, which has been operating with less than 10 planes. “Directed Secretary MoCA to review issues related to Jet Airways. Asked him to take necessary steps to minimise passenger inconvenience and ensure their safety,” Prabhu tweeted in the morning. Something needs to be done to bring back the airline industry to good health.

NT Bureau