March 15, 2019 / 12:21 PM / 2 months ago

CORRECTED-Jet Airways pilots seek gov't help to recover unpaid salaries, with interest

(Corrects last name of the pilot union president to read Chopra)

By Aftab Ahmed and Aditi Shah

NEW DELHI, March 15 (Reuters) - Cash-strapped Indian carrier Jet Airways’ pilots union has for the first time sought the government’s help to recover pending salaries and dues from the airline after their pleas to the management have fallen on “deaf ears.”

In a letter to India’s labour minister, National Aviators Guild, which represents the majority of Jet’s pilots, has asked that the airline immediately pay their outstanding salaries and allowances till date with interest.

“This situation is leading to extreme tension and frustration amongst our members, hardly an ideal situation for pilots in cockpit,” captain Karan Chopra, president of the union, said in the letter dated March 6, seen by Reuters.

Jet has delayed payments to its pilots, suppliers and lessors for months and defaulted on loans after racking up over $1 billion in debt. The airline is in talks with the country’s main state-backed banks for a rescue deal and emergency funds.

The pilots in August were given a staggered schedule of payments for salaries but Jet has not kept up, the union said, adding the airline still owes the pilots most of the salary for December, and all of January and February.

Jet did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Aftab Ahmed and Aditi Shah Editing by Euan Rocha)

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