Banks remain reluctant to infuse an emergency funding of Rs 1500 crore into Jet Airways, which the teetering airline has sought to stay afloat as it faces a severe cash shortage.
The airline was able to fly only five aircraft on Tuesday, the bare minimum required according to the rules of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and conditions of the Air Operating Permit (AOP), the document that permits a commercial airline to operate across the country.
The pilots of the airline told NDTV that the situation is extremely grave and the airline could be grounded any moment in the absence of funds.
"I doubt if Jet Airways will continue operations tomorrow. Funding is very much important and whatever funding comes in, salaries have to be a part of that funding. The management has conveyed to us that whatever the figure it, it will include the salaries of all employees," Captain Asim Valiani, a senior pilot with the airline told NDTV.
The pilots are also considering approaching the National Company Law Tribunal, in case there is no resolution to the current crisis. On Tuesday, 23 pilots quit the airline.
Jet Airways has said it is awaiting "emergency liquidity support" from the State Bank of India-led consortium of lenders. "The company's leadership, in consultation with its board of directors, is engaged with lenders in connection with the said emergency funding request... The company is also in constant engagement with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Civil Aviation in this regard," the airline said in a filing to the BSE.
Banks have asked the airline to keep operations going on the basis of daily funding. The management says it is not possible to run an airline like this and unless the funds come in, they will be forced to ground Jet Airways and start operations when there is a new owner.
In a letter to employees, Jet Airways CEO, Vinay Dube said, "The Company, under guidance of the Board has reached out to our lead lender, State Bank of India yet again and stressed on the need for urgent funding requirements, critical to the continuation of the operations of our airline."
"Please be assured that we continue to work proactively with the Indian lenders to provide all the support which may be required, to help us resurrect Jet Airways, including working closely with the potential parties that are keen on bidding for the airline," Mr. Dube added in the letter.
In a desperate plea to save the airline, the pilots once again appealed to the government to save 20,000 jobs.
"We would like to appeal once again to the Prime Minister, Civil Aviation Minister and Finance Minister and even the Opposition leaders to help Jet Airways survive; 20,000 jobs are on the line and 20,000 people will be on the streets if the banks do not do their part till the time Jet Airways finds a new owner," Captain Valiani told NDTV.