As uncertainty continues over the fate of the shuttered Jet Airways, an employees' consortium has proposed to take over the airline with at least Rs 3,000 crore expected from outside investors for the bid, according to two staff unions.
This is the first time that employees have come together with a proposal to run the more than 25-year-old Jet Airways, which temporarily suspended operations on April 17.
Two associations representing pilots and engineers -- SWIP and JAMEVA -- have written to State Bank of India (SBI) Chairman Rajnish Kumar proposing that they would take over the airline and can bring in up to Rs 7,000 crore.
The Society for Welfare of Indian Pilots (SWIP) and the Jet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Welfare Association (JAMEVA) have written a letter to the SBI chief asking the lead lender to consider "employee consortium" as an intending bidder for the carrier.
While SWIP has around 800 members, there are about 500 employees with JAMEVA.
"The contribution from employees would be realised from their future earnings and increased productivity... As per our initial estimate, the contribution of employees group over a hypothetical 5-year Employee Stock Ownership Programme (ESOP) is likely to be upward of Rs 4,000 crore.
"In addition, we are also confident of securing an investment commitment of up to Rs 3,000 crore from outside investors," the letter, dated April 29, said.
The letter has been signed by four people -- SWIP General Secretary Ashwani Tyagi, JAMEVA President Ashish Kumar Mohanty, Jet Airways Manager (Human Resources) B B Singh and Jet Lite Senior Vice President (Operations) and Accountable Manager P P Singh.
The deadline for submitting initial bids have already ended and the list of shortlisted entities is expected to be finalised on May 10.
SBI Capital Markets, on behalf of the lenders' consortium led by the SBI, is managing the bidding process.
"We confirm that a proposal for employee takeover of Jet Airways has been submitted by us... We are optimistic that the banks and Government of India will give our plan a serious consideration," the two unions said in a joint statement.
Tyagi said the letter has also been signed by two officials of the airline.
Cash-starved Jet Airways stopped operations on April 17 after lenders decided not to extend emergency funds. Since then, employees have held gatherings in various cities and have also met various ministers with pleas to save the airline.