Engineers question safety of Jet’s aircraft, Suresh Prabhu orders emergency meet

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Jet Airways aircraft engineers union on Tuesday has written to the DGCA to apprise the regulator of the “precarious conditions with respect to flight safety for general public at large”
  • Meanwhile, Jet Airways’s founder Naresh Goyal is now trying to get Qatar Airways (QA) on board to save the airline from collapsing




NEW DELHI: Jet Airways aircraft engineers have raised a question mark on the safety of the planes being flown by the cash-strapped airline. Their union on Tuesday has written to the DGCA to apprise the regulator of the “precarious conditions with respect to flight safety for general public at large”. After this red flag was raised by Jet’s engineering, civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu Tweeted that he has “directed (aviation) secretary (P S Kharola) to hold an emergency meeting on grounding of flights by Jet Airways, advance bookings, cancellation, refunds and safety issues, if any. Asked him to get a report on Jet compliance issues immediately from DGCA.”


Prabhu’s Tweet came since Jet has been cancelling a large number of flights at the last minute since the past few days due to non-availability of resources, including aircraft. In addition, many passengers are complaining about not getting refunds on time. While these were commercial issues, now Jet’s staff has raised questions about the safety of its own aircraft.



Meanwhile, Jet Airways’s founder Naresh Goyal is now trying to get Qatar Airways (QA) on board to save the airline from collapsing. He has reportedly met Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar Al Baker in Doha. QA has been keen on starting a domestic airline in India and has not been able to increase operations here due to India not increasing bilateral of the wealthy Gulf nation. Comments from QA on Jet are awaited and the story will be updated once they send the same.
Goyal and son Nivan met Al Baker after tripartite talks between lenders led by State Bank of India, Jet and Etihad virtually broke down with the Abu Dhabi-based airline, that has 24% stake in Jet, reportedly not agreeing to put in more money. Etihad has even spoken of selling its 24% stake in Jet and exiting the airline.


The frantic search for funds brings more bad news for Jet, its employees and passengers. On Tuesday, Jet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Welfare Association’s Amit Kelkar wrote a letter to Directorate General of Civil Aviation, saying: “…to apprise you of the precarious conditions with respect to flight safety for general public at large. Engineers who inspect, troubleshoot and certify the public transport aircraft for its airworthiness are in tremendous stress due to non-payment of salaries on time for last seven months. As of now three months’ salary is overdue to us.”


“It has been arduous for us to meet our financial requirements, which has adversely affected psychological condition of aircraft engineers at work and therefore the safety of public transport airplanes being flown by Jet Airways across India and the world is at risk. Kindly intervene and direct Jet Airways to clear our outstanding dues and pay us our salaries in time in future to enable us to continue to deliver safe airplanes,” the trade union wrote.



 

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