- Arun Jaitley said bidding for Jet Airways to be done in four-five weeks
- Meeting with airline staff came two days after it grounded flights
- It led to fears of over 20,000 employees losing their jobs
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday assured a delegation of Jet Airways executives that the bidding process for the cash-strapped airline will be completed in four to five weeks. The meeting came two days after Jet Airways grounded its flights in the face of mounting debt, leading to fears of over 20,000 employees losing their jobs.
The Jet Airways delegation put forth twin requests for expediting the bidding process and ensuring the early payment of pending employee salaries at the meeting, which was also attended by Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungatiwar. The team was led by Jet Airways Chief Executive Officer Vinay Dube and Chief Financial Officer Amit Agarwal.
"When we requested Mr Jaitley to expedite the bidding process, he said it will be completed within four-five weeks. We also requested that pending salaries of employees be released in the interim period, considering that may have not been paid for three to four months. He said that he will speak to the banks in this regard," Mr Agarwal told NDTV.
He, however, could not commit to Jet Airways employees ending their protests in the wake of the meeting with the Union Finance Minister. "Please understand - this is an emotional issue concerning people who have put in more than 25 years of work. I can't say whether they will stop or not, but we aim to constructively resurrect the airline," Mr Agarwal said, adding that they were hoping for a positive outcome.
Ashish Mohanty, an engineer who was part of the delegation, said Mr Jaitley listened to their problems patiently. "He said that his main aim is to save the employees. But we don't want the passengers to be put to any inconvenience either. We are hoping for positive things," he said.
Jet Airways, India's oldest private carrier, suspended all its operations on Wednesday after banks refused to release emergency funding.