Mumbai/Hyderabad Battling a clawing downturn enveloping the aviation industry, Jet Airways on Wednesday announced sacking of 1,900 of its employees across all operations.
"It is an unfortunate decision, which all of us in the company regret but it is an attempt to save the company and the jobs of the remaining employees," Jet Airways Executive Director B Saroj Dutta told reporters at the airlines headquarters in Mumbai.
"A total of 1,900 people are being served separation notice. 800 have already been served notice. In the next few days the others will also be served notice. It is an attempt to save the jobs of remaining 11,100 employees," he said.
He said the decision to terminate the employees had nothing to do with the alliance entered into with Kingfisher. "It (alliance) has nothing to do with the workforce of the companies. These are independent decisions of the two companies."
Kingfisher Airlines has laid-off nearly 300 jobs and may announce more cuts across the board in the coming days. The airline chief Vijay Mallya gave enough hints of it, saying the company would do whatever it takes to cut costs.
Dutta said all sections and activities of the company were being covered by this action, which the airline said was inevitable in view of the declining traffic volumes.
Jet would talk to all sacked employees tomorrow. We have spent money in training them and would like to take them back when market conditions are good, Dutta said.
Asked about the alliance, he said there was no cartelisation. It is just rationalisation and cooperation. "Companies in India and everywhere in the world do this."
About 800 unconfirmed and under-probation employees have been given termination letters and the rest will be given termination notices this evening. "These people were recently hired... This is being done to strengthen the economic viability of the company," said Dutta, who was flanked by CEO Wolfgang Prock Schauer. The airlines has rolled back all expansion plans, besides cutting flights in winter by 15 per cent. "This is the first time since Jet Airways has been formed that employees are being sacked for reasons other than non-performance," he said.
These people were recruited in the hope of expansions. The aviation industry in the country is estimated to have a turnover of USD 6 billion. In the current fiscal, it is expected to do USD 2 billion.
The sack order has evoked protests from Raj Thackeray, who warned that no Jet flights would be allowed from Mumbai in case the airline did not reconsider the decision.
Thackeray said activists of his Maharashtra Navnirman Sena will meet Jet officials tomorrow to discuss the issue. Sacked Jet employees had approached the party for help as also staged a protest outside the airline's office in Mumbai today.
"It is part of handling economic slowdown and carefully rationalising the operation," the official said, adding the downsizing is based on capacity, load-factor and traffic patterns.
Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines, both of which account for 60 per cent market share in India, had announced an alliance on Monday to share their resources and routes.
Both Naresh Goyal of Jet and Vijay Mallya of Kingfisher, who are here to attend the air show here, denied any merger moves. PTI