Jet Airways sacks 1,900 staff

Last Updated: Thu, Oct 16, 2008 04:11 hrs

Mumbai/New Delhi: Jet Airways plans to terminate the services of 1,100 more employees in the next two days.

This comes within hours after the airline announced that 800 flight attendant probationers had been told to leave, late Monday night.

Explaining the airlines’ decision, Wolfgang Prock Schauer, Chief Executive of Jet Airways, told mediapersons on Wednesday that the company had to take this extreme step to prevent it from collapsing.

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He said, in all the services of 1,900 employees would be terminated, adding that they would get priority in recruitment when the situation improved. Asked when, he said, it could take six months to two years. The total staff strength of Jet Airways is 13,000.

Schauer said he expected difficult market conditions to continue for some time and personnel hired for expansion, probationers and unconfirmed employees (recently hired) would have to be released.

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As a first step, 800 flight attendants had been released and the company was in the process of releasing personnel from other categories, including those in cockpit crew and managerial staff. “This will cut across all activities of the company.”

“We wish to clarify that the reconsideration of our operations has been ongoing for some time now and this adjustment in personnel numbers did not result from the planned alliance with Kingfisher Airlines. If at all, improved economies in other areas would obviate such steps in future,” he said.

Jet Airways to lay off 600 employees

The $ 6 billion turnover Indian aviation industry was expected to lose $ 2 billion in 2008-09, Schauer said, adding that the staff pruning exercise had nothing to do with the alliance with Kingfisher Airlines.

These were exceptional times and company had also put its fleet expansion on hold, curtailed flights and grounded some aircraft as well.

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He said the aviation industry was witnessing a double digit decline in revenues in the domestic market in recent months. The number of flights it would be offering in the winter schedule would be 15 per cent lower than planned in view of the declining traffic volumes.

The latest decision comes on the heels of the voluntary retirement scheme offered by the airline to 687 staff of JetLite, its 100 per cent subsidiary, which was taken up by 387 personnel. Kingfisher Airlines also downsized its staff strength by 300, a move which it claimed helped it save about Rs 5 crore annually.