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Jet staff promise to secure ₹3,000 crore, seek SBI nod to bid

A group of airline employees has written to SBI seeking permission to allow a consortium of employees and external investors to bid for the company’s management control

Jet Airways employees protesting (PTI)

Nirbhay Kumar/IANS

Sensing that the options to revive the grounded Jet Airways are fast running out, a group of airline employees has written to SBI seeking permission to allow a consortium of employees and external investors to bid for the company's management control.

The employee representatives have said they will secure an investment of up to Rs 3,000 crore from "outside investors".

The associations that have sent the proposal are the Society for Welfare of Indian Pilots (SWIP) and the Jet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Welfare Association (JAMEWA).

The associations have promised that employees would contribute towards revival of the airline from their future earnings and increased productivity.

"As per our initial estimate, the contribution of employee group over a hypothetical 5-year Employee Stock Ownership Programme (ESOP) is likely to be upward of Rs 4,000 crore," a joint letter to the SBI Chairman stated.

They said that the decision had been taken through extensive discussion with various employee groups across the company and also with colleagues who have in the past successfully held senior management positions.

"We recognize that legacy issues of high operating costs, overstaffing, unfavourable vendor/lease agreements and adverse debt/equity ratio are involved," the proposal letter said.

The associations have also urged the lenders to ensure the process of de-registration of aircraft and re-allocation of airport slots be immediately reversed.

"... if not reversed quickly, (it) would spell doom for any future prospects of reviving the company," the associations warned.

Lenders of Jet Airways led by SBI are currently in the process of selling the airline to recover their dues of over Rs 8,400 crore. SBI Caps, the merchant banking arm of SBI, is short-listing the investors for submitting the financial proposal by April-end.

Private equity firm TPG Capital, Indigo Partners, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and Etihad Airways are in the race to buy a stake in the grounded airline.

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