Chennai/New Delhi: Government-owned Air India can take over Jet Airways and get back the lucrative international/domestic routes if there are no white knight for the private airline, said a top All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) leader.
"The government-owned Air India can take over Jet Airways if no investor is interested in taking it. If that happens, many of the lucrative international and domestic routes will come to Air India.
"There is no point in banks continued lending to Jet Airways as their loan of about Rs 8,500 crore is already a non-performing asset (NPA)," C H Venkatachalam, general secretary, AIBEA, told IANS.
There could be rationalisation of staff so that a good number of jobs can be saved, he added.
Venkatachalam said the union has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Jet Airways issue.
"We learn banks have invited bids from possible investors to take over the company. If it does not happen and no bidder is willing to invest and take over the airline, we urge upon the government to take over the airline so that the jobs and future of the thousands of employees, most of whom are young, are safe and without jeopardy," Venkatachalam told Modi in his letter on Friday.
"Incidentally, everyone is looking at the banks to bail out the airline as though banks are the owners of the company. Naresh Goyal is still the promoter and major share-holder with 51 per cent of the shares with him and it is his headache to run the company or sell it to someone."
There are reports that most of the woes of the company are due to their own wrong and unwise business decisions and hence there should be a thorough enquiry into the affairs of Jet Airways and the wrongdoers should be punished.
"The attempts to sidetrack the whole issue by building pressure on the banks to extend further loan and save the company is only with a view to keep Naresh Goyal out of the picture, whereas he is the real man who is answerable for the whole crisis," states the letter.
Venkatachalam also welcomed the decision of the Mumbai High Court declining to give a direction to the government to ask the banks to extend further loans to the Jet Airways.
Jet issues gag order, fearing impact on stake sale
Jet Airways has issued a gag order to its employees advising them to refrain from speaking with external stakeholders.
An internal mail accessed by IANS suggests that talking with external stakeholders especially the media might impact the bidding process for airline's stake sale.
"We are currently at a critical stage of our bid process that is being led by our lenders. We urge you to refrain from engaging with the media and let the task of interaction with external stakeholders (especially the media) be restricted to our colleagues at corporate communication team," the mail sent late on Thursday said.
Faced with delay in payments of salaries and prospect of joblessness, hundreds of airline employees had gathered on Thursday at the Jantar Mantar to voice their concerns and appeal to the government to intervene for revival of the company.
The staff from across various departments, including engineering, maintenance, guest relations and security had participated in the demonstrations.
The Jet Airways had late on Wednesday suspended its operations indefinitely.
The airline's revival now depends on successful stake sale initiated by the lenders led by the State Bank of India (SBI).
In an official statement, the airline lenders led by the SBI has said that they were 'reasonably hopeful' that the stake sale process would succeed and determine fair value of the enterprise.
As per industry sources, private equity firms TPG Capital, Indigo Partners and the NIIF and Etihad Airways were in the race to buy a stake in the grounded carrier.