Layoffs inevitable to save airline: Jet Airways

October 15th, 2008 - 4:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Oct 15 (IANS) Jet Airways, while justifying the layoff of over 800 flight attendants Tuesday night to help the company secure its economic health, said that it is in the process of ‘releasing’ more probationery and unconfirmed staffers from other categories.In a statement here Wednesday afternoon, Jet Airways (I) Ltd Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Prock Schauer said that the personnel who have been released are those who were hired for the expansion programme of the airlines, probationers and unconfirmed personnel who have been recently hired.

Tuesday night’s termination has also resulted in the suspension of the “planned expansion programme”, Schauer added. Saying that though “painful” for each and every affected person, this “adjustment in personnel numbers” was inevitable in the greater interest of regaining viability of Jet Airways and towards securing its financial health.

He said that the layoffs had been under consideration for quite some time and was not a fall out of the “planned alliance with Kingfisher Airlines”.

The next round of layoffs - details and time-frame of which have not been specified - would include other areas of operation, including cockpit crew and management personnel, cutting across all the activities of the company.

Schauer said that the $6 billion Indian aviation industry is expected to lose $2 billion in 2008-09. The economic viability of the industry has been severely affected by the record high fuel prices and most recently due to the crisis of the global financial markets and downturn in traffic.

He said that Jet Airways had charted plans for a continuous growth in the domestic aviation market and the implementation of its first phase of international expansion programme, which will now be suspended.

In addition, the company CEO said the domestic market has declined by double digit figures in recent months. The airline’s long haul expansion had to be pruned down due to the international developments.

Apart from these, the number of Jet Airways flights in the winter schedule will be cut down by at least 15 percent in view of declining traffic volumes.

He said that the company has been watching these developments for some time, hoping for a turnaround, but it has now reached a stage necessitating “hard decisions”, especially since the difficult market conditions are expected to continue.

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