Government-owned Air India can take over Jet Airways and get back the lucrative international/domestic routes if there are no white knight for the private airline, said a top All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) leader. “The government-owned Air India can take over Jet Airways if no investor is interested in taking it. If that happens, many of the lucrative international and domestic routes will come to Air India.
“There is no point in banks continued lending to Jet Airways as their loan of about Rs 8,500 crore is already a non-performing asset (NPA),” C.H. Venkatachalam, General Secretary, AIBEA, told IANS. There could be rationalisation of staff so that a good number of jobs can be saved, he added. Venkatachalam said the union has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Jet Airways issue.
“We learn banks have invited bids from possible investors to take over the company. If it does not happen and no bidder is willing to invest and take over the airline, we urge upon the government to take over the airline so that the jobs and future of the thousands of employees, most of whom are young, are safe and without jeopardy,” Venkatachalam told Modi in his letter on Friday.
“Incidentally, everyone is looking at the banks to bail out the airline as though banks are the owners of the company. Naresh Goyal is still the promoter and major share-holder with 51 per cent of the shares with him and it is his headache to run the company or sell it someone.” There are reports that most of the woes of the company are due to their own wrong and unwise business decisions and hence there should be a thorough enquiry into the affairs of Jet Airways and the wrongdoers should be punished.
“The attempts to sidetrack the whole issue by building pressure on the banks to extend further loan and save the company is only with a view to keep Naresh Goyal out of the picture, whereas he is the real man who is answerable for the whole crisis,” states the letter. Venkatachalam also welcomed the decision of the Mumbai High Court declining to give a direction to the government to ask the banks to extend further loans to the Jet Airways.