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After two-month delay, Jet to pay salaries today

Kingfisher Airlines, too, says it will start disbursing payments next week

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says it hopes to clear payment of salary to all employees by Wednesday, after having delayed it for the second month in a row to pilots, managers and senior executives.

The airline said, it has already paid the salaries of ground staff, technicians and security staff.

Kingfisher Airlines, too, has defaulted on salary payments for two months and has said it would start disbursing it next week, though it did not give a specific date.

Jet sources said salary payments were prompt till six to eight months ago and were paid by at least the fifth of a month. “We are facing problems and we don't have the luxury of being bailed out by the government,'' an executive said.

While and Kingfisher have been routinely delaying salaries, Jet had been regular till now. A Jet spokesperson said: “We communicate internally about the payment schedule. Over 75 per cent of staff were paid in the first week of February and the balance would be paid mid-month.” However, sources said no communication was sent this month regarding the delay in disbursal.

“Our domestic flights have 85-90 per cent loads. Corporate traffic has moved to us, too, but there is a cash crunch as costs have also shot up,” said a Jet executive. The airline posted a second quarter loss of Rs 101 crore because of high fuel costs and is on a cost cutting spree. In the third quarter, it spent Rs 422 crore on salaries and allowances. It has 13,000 employees and its wage bill for 2010-11 was Rs 1,342 crore.

Recently, it cut salaries of junior pilots, stopped paying petrol allowances to senior executives and is also trying to cut on hotel accommodation to crew, by opting for less expensive ones and asking them to share rooms, a source said. The airline also declared a day’s leave without pay for cabin crew since last month.

Meanwhile, Kingfisher has offered its ground staff an advance of Rs 5,000. The airline has not paid its staff for December and January and several pilots have quit. The airline had promised to pay employees last week but chief executive then wrote to employees that the airline had to make large unforeseen payments, causing a delay. He’d said it would take another week to complete salary disbursal.

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