Bank unions demand Centre take over Jet Airways

Mumbai: All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), the oldest and largest bank union has urged the government to takeover the beleaguered Jet Airways if no bidder is willing to invest in it. The Association has also demanded a thorough enquiry into the affairs of Jet Airways and to punish the wrongdoers. The Bank Union has also opposed any move to force banks to lend more money to the airline.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, the AIBEA General Secretary CH Venkatachalam said, “We learn banks have invited bids to 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.”

“Incidentally, everyone is looking to the Banks to bail out the airline as though Banks are the owners of the company. Mr 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 someone,” wrote the Union leader.

After flying for 25 years, Jet Airways on Wednesday announced grounding of operations after its lenders led by State Bank of India (SBI) declined an interim funding of Rs 400-crore to keep Jet afloat.

A consortium of 26 lenders led by the SBI, with 51 per cent stake in the cash strapped airline, had invited bids from potential suitors and had selected Etihad Airways, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), TPG Capital and Indigo Partners as qualified bidders. SBI Capital Markets has the mandate for Jet Airways' sale. The bids received for Jet Airways will be opened on May 10.

The letter said that 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.

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