- Hope that banks will finalise bidders on May 10, writes Naresh Goyal
- "5th day of May has held a special place in our hearts," he adds
- Grounded Jet owes money to lessors, suppliers, pilots, oil companies
Naresh Goyal, founder of the now-grounded airline Jet Airways, wrote to his colleagues that the 26th anniversary of the carrier was "the saddest of all days". Describing the cash-starved airline's last flight in the early hours of April 18 this year as a "sad coincidence", Mr Goyal said the carrier had received its first aircraft in Mumbai on April 18, 1993. For the past 25 years, "the 5th day of May has held a special place in the hearts of each of us", he wrote in a communication addressed to colleagues. Mr Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal had stepped down from the board of the airline in March this year. (Also read: "No sacrifice too big for me to safeguard interest of Jet": Naresh Goyal)
Struggling with a debt of more than $1.2 billion, the airline owes money to lessors, suppliers, pilots and oil companies. Jet Airways' group of lenders have taken a controlling stake in the airline, and are currently in the process of selling a stake to recover their dues.
The airline halted operations on April 17 after its lenders refused to provide further funds to keep it afloat. Once India's largest private carrier, Jet Airways had more than 16,000 employees and flights to dozens of international destinations.
Here's the full text of Mr Goyal's letter to colleagues:
Dear Colleagues ,
Each year since the past 25 years, the 5th day of May has held a special place in the hearts of each of us. But yesterday, our 26th Anniversary was the saddest of all days, with no flights, added to which the sad coincidence that on 18th April 1993 we received our first aircraft in Mumbai, while in the early hours of the morning of 18th April 2019 we operated our last service from Amritsar to Mumbai.
Yesterday, at the onset of the 26th anniversary of Jet Airways, the mood was sombre, poignant. Neeta and I were moved beyond words to see so many of you across our vast Indian and international network, don your uniforms, not to report to work, but instead to participate in peace marches, championing your continued commitment and confidence in Jet Airways. Some of you organized religious prayer meets, not seeking anything for yourselves, but praying solely for the revival of Jet Airways. So many of you reached out to Neeta and me via different mediums, leaving us emotional, humbled and overwhelmed. Your love and unfaltering commitment to Jet Airways, even under these adverse conditions and personal hardship, is humbling and awe-inspiring. We are unable to reciprocate and respond to each of you individually owing to the prevailing circumstances, and so we reach out to you through your beloved Jet Airways.
Further to my communication of 25th March 2019, since stepping down from our respective positions, Neeta and I have had no role at Jet Airways after having made every possible sacrifice and commitment to ensure that the best interests of our Jet Airways family are served:
- From a group company I have made Rs.250 cr. available to the Banks
- I have pledged .my shareholding in 9W
- I have stepped down as your Chairman
- Neeta has stepped down from Board of Directors of Jet Airways
By comparison however, the sacrifices that you have made are greater and nobler by far. I have been learning through the media of the various peace marches outside various city airports and prominent landmarks and am deeply moved. This deeply decent, selfless and self-sacrificing act of yours, is both venerable and humbling. My heart goes out to each and every one of you and I hope and pray that the Banks will finalise the bidders on the 10th of May and move forward in the interest of all employees, so that you can all return to work and resume normal lives with your salaries paid.
For Neeta and me it has been an extremely emotional and difficult period, most particularly about the non-payment of your hard-earned salaries. I cannot even begin to describe how terrible it is for me to contemplate the difficult situation each of you and your dear families are going through and cannot find the words to explain my deep personal anguish. I have been in Mumbai and have been watching and closely monitoring the untiring efforts and sacrifices you are all making as a close-knit team for the survival of the company over all self-interests and I am truly, deeply moved.
Neeta and I are anxiously hoping that there will be a positive outcome on the 10th of May 2019 as per the BLRP deadline.. It is our dearest wish, like yours, to witness the blazing sun reappear from behind the dark clouds of the past weeks, on a canvas of never ending blue. We both fervently pray that the "Joy of Flying" may once more bring cheer and solace to all of you and your dear families in the very near future. Your loyalty, dedication and brilliance of the past 25 years, is worthy of this new dawn.
With warm regards,