New Delhi: Sensing that the options to revive Jet Airways are fast running out, a group of airline employees has written to SBI seeking permission to allow a consortium of employees and external investors to bid for the company’s management control.
Employee representatives have said they will secure an investment of up to Rs 3,000 crore from “external investors”. Society for Welfare of Indian Pilots (SWIP) and the Jet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Welfare Association (JAMEWA) have sent the proposal and promised that employees would contribute to the revival of the airline from their future earnings and increased productivity.
“According to our initial estimate, the contribution of employee group over a hypothetical five-year Employee Stock Ownership Programme (ESOP) is likely to be upward of Rs4,000 crore,” a joint letter to the SBI Chairman stated.
They said the decision had been taken through extensive discussion with various employee groups across the company and also with colleagues who have in the past successfully held senior management positions.
“We recognise that legacy issues of high operating costs, overstaffing, unfavourable vendor or lease agreements and adverse debt to equity ratio are involved,” the proposal reads.
The associations have also urged lenders to immediately reverse de-registration of aircraft and reallocation of airport slots.
“[I]f not reversed quickly, [it] would spell doom for any future prospects of reviving the company,” the associations warned.
Lenders of Jet Airways, led by SBI, are currently in the process of selling the airline to recover dues of more than Rs 8,400 crore. SBI Caps, the merchant banking arm of SBI, is short-listing the investors to submit financial proposals by April-end.
Private equity firm TPG Capital, Indigo Partners, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and Etihad Airways are in the race to buy a stake in the grounded airline.