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Jet Airways pilots look to join SpiceJet, IndiGo pilots see injustice

The harried pilots of crisis-ridden Jet Airways, which is on the brink of closing operations, have now approached SpiceJet as job seekers.

Jet Airways pilots had earlier been welcomed by IndiGo with compensation for their pending salaries and other advantages. IndiGo’s original pilots remained mute spectators. Eventually, they voiced their protest. In IndiGo, this led to murmurs of uneasiness within IndiGo’s pilots. IndiGo did purchase a number of additional airplanes, but it forgot to enhance its manpower especially in the critical areas, ie., operations and engineering where highly skilled personnel are needed. IndiGo became the largest airline in India but it faced acute shortage of labour because it had not done its homework well. As a thumb rule, at least two cadets could have been trained and groomed under one senior pro. Given the number of planes at its disposal, given the hours of flight it undertakes, IndiGo could have produced a battery of young pilots during the last ten years or so. Such a rich pool of talent could have served not only IndiGo but other airlines of the world too.

Although, shortage of manpower in non-critical areas can be somehow managed, shortage of cockpit crew is the one which can not be tolerated. This finally leads to cancellation of hundreds of flights. This has been IndiGo’s experience last month.

According to IndiGo, all job offers are in line with its current terms and conditions.

But IndiGo pilots differ. They have called the move as “injustice” and “unacceptable”:

  • IndiGo Management takes us lightly.
  • Offer to Jet Airways pilots is sheer injustice to us
  • Jet Airways pilots are being offered a two-month bonus along with same designation-salary
  • They have also been allowed to choose their operational base.

“The management is saying it is not bonus but it is compensation for their (Jet pilots) delayed salaries. Are we also not entitled to similar bonuses?” IndiGo pilots ask.jet airways chairman

Also, Jet pilots are joining with designation protection. So, basically if a non-type-rated examiner is joining us, she/he will be joining with a pay protection of the IndiGo examiner, pointed out the IndiGo pilots.

Alleging that the IndiGo pilots have not been given a hike since the last three-four years, the pilots say that after joining, the Jet pilots will again get a hike when Indigo revises the salaries of its existing pilots.

Also Read: Jet Airways pilots seek Centre’s help to recover unpaid salaries

Jet pilots along with engineers and senior management have not been paid for more than three months now as the airline is facing its worst existential crisis since its inception a quarter of a century ago. It can be noted that pilots at Jet, being a full-service carrier, get higher pay and other benefits.

The Gurugram-based SpiceJet, which has all its 12 Boeing Max planes grounded following the crash of an Ethiopian Airline plane early this month, is looking to hire pilots for its expansion plans, and has also conducted walk-in interviews here.

Unlike IndiGo, which flies majorly Airbus 320s, SpiceJet has Boeing 737s in the fleet. On the other hand it can be noted that majority Jet Airways pilots are trained and type-rated for Boeing planes.

Also Read : Jet Airways gets another setback, unlikely to recover 

With no assurance on the payment of their pending salaries, Jet pilots had Tuesday warned that they would stop flying from April 1 if the management failed to provide clarity on the revival plan along with a deadline to clear their salary dues by March 31.

Also ReadBanks get ready to put in extra money in debt-laden Jet Airways




Parties battle it out on small business energy blueprint

Pic: Greenhouse gases


The Victorian government has announced its own default price, while the federal government’s policy would cover South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales.

Speaking to The Age and Sydney Morning Herald at the event, the minister also said he was “determined” to see the government’s ‘big stick’ energy policies, including its forced divestiture policy, into the election campaign.

The policy includes a range of measures including powers to request a court order to force an energy company to divest assets if misusing market power.

“It is extraordinary to me that the so called friend of the worker, the Labor party, doesn’t want to support this,” minister Taylor said.

He also said it was also more important for small business owners, particularly in “weather sensitive” sectors like farming, to track climate data in order to help with business planning.

“My family has been doing this for 20 years – we use the CSIRO modelling of how weather is changing. There is good data out there and if you are a weather-sensitive business, you should do that work.”

The energy summit heard research commissioned by COSBOA surveying 200 small businesses across Australia which found one in ten are unable to repay electricity bills, while businesses that rent their premises are finding in harder to cope with power price increases than those owning property.

Shadow minister for climate change Pat Conroy said energy policy stability is the major issue for small businesses.

“The government has had 12 energy policies in two and a half years, and we’ve signalled our main focus is restoring stability,” he said.

Labor outlined its plan to reach a bipartisan national energy guarantee in its quest to deliver 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

The Australian Greens also laid out a blueprint for levelling the playing field for small businesses, including the introduction of low-cost electricity packages for businesses through a not-for-profit, publicly owned electricity retailer.

Greens energy spokesperson Adam Bandt proposed a $200 million small business “clean energy” fund to provide smaller operators with $10,000 grants for projects that improve energy efficiency.




Banks get ready to put in extra money in debt-laden Jet Airways

A day after Etihad walked out of the prolonged bank-led resolution plan for Jet Airways, lenders got into action to chalk out a plan B. Senior bank executives worked the phones and logged on to video-conferencing in a move to rescue Jet, which has a debt pile of about Rs 8,000 crore and is left with just half of its original fleet due to non-payment of dues to lessors.

Switching to a damage-control mode, bankers and government officials claimed that Jet Airways wouldn’t fall even if Etihad refuses to back the resolution plan and exits. Instead, lenders would infuse additional funds to keep Jet flying, they said. An option that was discussed was that Etihad and Jet Chairman Naresh Goyal, who owns 51 per cent in the airline, could pledge their shares and, in return, lenders would put in more funds.

The move comes after Etihad told SBI, which leads the consortium of lenders proposing a resolution plan for Jet, that it would like to exit the airline and sell its 24 per cent stake in Jet and 50.1 per cent in Jet Privilege to them.

ALSO READ: Jet Airways gets another setback, unlikely to recover

Etihad is also learnt to have asked the SBI to take over the guarantee on the $140-million ECB loan, which Jet had taken from HSBC. Etihad had stood guarantee for the loan, which is coming up for repayment on March 27. Etihad CEO Tony Douglas is also believed to have indicated that the company was willing to sell its stake in Jet to the banks at a discounted price of Rs 150 a share or at Rs 400 crore. It has also valued its equity holding in JPPL at around $600 million. An e mail query to Etihad did not elicit any response.

Despite the brave front put up by bankers and government officials trying to prevent an airline collapse so close to the Lok Sabha elections, the lenders’ meeting called at a short notice on Tuesday evening remained inconclusive. The discussion was all about who will pitch in with what in the suddenly changed scenario. With no consensus yet on how the additional burden would be shared by the lenders, another round of talks has been planned with the top management of banks. ‘’It’s a wait and watch situation and the picture would become clear in two days,’’ a source tracking the developments said.

ALSO READ: Jet Airways Nosedives Further, No Respite in Sight, 41 Planes Remain

A top government representative pointed out that while lenders would ideally want Jet and Etihad to put in more money, the largest state-owned lenders like SBI and Punjab National Bank could also infuse more. “The lenders have the option of pumping in money on behalf of the stakeholders if the latter pledge their shares,” he said. He added that the government was in favour of an Indian entity holding majority stake in Jet Airways. “Ideally, nobody would like Jet Airways to go into insolvency proceedings,”he said.

Banks, another source said, had held a meeting late evening on Monday too, to discuss ways to salvage the resolution plan. The lenders had earlier agreed that they would provide Rs 750 crore as interim financing and Rs 1,000 crore for fresh equity to revive Jet.

ALSO READ: Jet Airways pilots seek Centre’s help to recover unpaid salaries

As per the resolution plan, Goyal’s stake was to go down to 17.1 per cent from 51 per cent now. At present, only 1.5 per cent of Goyal’s shares are pledged and Jet has an agreement with PNB under which it has to take a no-objection certificate to sell its shares.

On its part, Etihad has been unwilling to pledge its shares from the very beginning. That’s the reason why Etihad’s draft memorandum of understanding with Goyal had put in a clause that the Abu Dhabi airline would not give any corporate guarantee or pledge its shares in Jet or JPPL. Also, it was again Jet which would pledge its remaining shares in JPPL to secure the $140 million loan from HSBC.




The nation must adopt new energy paradigms

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport recently experienced yet another sudden power outage resulting in delays for many travelers. It was the fourth outage in a year, but it was not related to Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower) systems. It was caused by equipment that is not managed by Taipower.

Airports in many developed countries have their own cogeneration systems to guarantee a stable multisource power supply to protect the public’s rights and interests. For example, international airports in San Francisco and Los Angeles have cogeneration systems of different sizes.

In this situation, the power company is in effect a backup supplier of energy to the terminals, offering a second guarantee. In addition, emergency diesel-powered generators — which also exist at Taoyuan airport — provide a third guarantee, although they cannot be sustained for long periods and should be the last option.

This is the reason why a cogeneration system should be installed even if the power it generates is a bit more expensive.

Cogeneration systems have two other advantages. As they generate both heat and electricity, thermal efficiency can surpass 80 percent, making it one of the most efficient energy-saving solutions. This is also why many countries encourage and stipulate that power companies must purchase surplus energy generated by cogeneration systems as part of their cost avoidance policies. Taiwan is no exception.

The second advantage of a cogeneration system is that following the growing proportion of distributed energy resources, unstable solar and wind energy generation requires greater backup capacity, while cogeneration allows the flexible adjustment of the proportions of thermal and electric energy generation, making it one of the best backup systems.

This is why a developed country like Denmark estimates that cogeneration systems will continue to make up about 30 percent of total power generation capacity until 2030, while solar and wind generation will make up more than 50 percent and coal-fired generation will provide less than 20 percent.

This means that following Taiwan’s energy generation transformation toward green energy, a greater focus should be placed on the development of regional cogeneration systems and the construction of micro-grids that can operate independently and combine cogeneration with renewable energy sources.

It is worth noting that although there are more than 80 cogeneration systems in Taiwan, they all belong to the manufacturing industry and most are coal-fired. This is different from the situation in developed countries, where the main energy source is natural gas and the systems are used in the services and the manufacturing industries.

Furthermore, the vast majority of the liquefied natural gas that the nation imports is used by Taipower and private power plants for traditional power generation, which has a thermal efficiency of about 50 percent. This, unfortunately, is far less than at a cogeneration system.

The government should join the international trend toward green energy and energy savings, and pay more attention to developing a strategy for natural gas-fired cogeneration systems, which should be primarily used at service industry hubs or important buildings.

This would result in a stronger and more resilient energy system, facilitate flexible plans for a larger proportion of renewable energy generation and make stable low-carbon power supply in smart cities and communities a reality, thus guaranteeing the public’s right to use electricity.




‘Ethiopia Airlines crash had ‘clear similarity’ with Lion Air crash’: Official

Ethiopia Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges said the black box from the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people last week is in good condition.

Moges told reporters on Sunday evening that data so far shows there is a “clear similarity” between that crash and an earlier one in Indonesia that involved the same type of plane.

Officials said victims hailed from 35 different countries were killed when the Nairobi-bound plane crashed shortly after takeoff.

The United States and other countries grounded Boeing 737 Max 8 planes after they were involved in both the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash and an earlier Lion Air crash in Indonesia.

The U.S.-based Boeing faces the challenge of proving the jets are safe to fly amid suspicions that faulty sensors and software contributed to the two crashes in less than six months.Ethiopia Airlines crash

News

Thousands mourned the Ethiopian plane crash victims on Sunday, accompanying 17 empty caskets draped in the national flag through the streets of the capital as some victims’ relatives fainted and fell to the ground.

The service came one day after officials began delivering bags of earth to family members of the victims. Because of the lengthy identification process, they likely won’t receive remains of loved ones anytime soon.

Family members confirmed they were given a 1 kilogram (2.2 pound) sack of scorched earth taken from the crash site. Many relatives already have gathered at the rural, dusty crash site outside Ethiopia’s capital.

Elias Bilew said he had worked with one of the victims, Sintayehu Shafi, for the past eight years.

“He was such a good person,” Bilew said. “He doesn’t deserve this. He was the pillar for his whole family.”

French investigators said Saturday night that they had successfully downloaded the cockpit recorder data and had transferred it to the Ethiopian investigation team without listening to the audio files. Work on the flight data recorder resumed Sunday but no additional details were given.

Experts from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the plane’s manufacturer Boeing are among those involved in the investigation.

News

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has said satellite-based tracking data shows that the movements of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 were similar to those of Lion Air Flight 610, which crashed off Indonesia in October, killing 189 people. Both involved Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.

The planes in both crashes flew with erratic altitude changes that could indicate the pilots struggled to control the aircraft. Shortly after their takeoffs, both crews tried to return to the airports but crashed.

The United States and many other countries have now grounded the Max 8s as the U.S.-based company faces the challenge of proving the jets are safe to fly amid suspicions that faulty sensors and software contributed to the two crashes that killed hundreds in less than six months.

Also Read: Infighting hampers analysis of Ethiopian Airlines flight recorders

Also Read: Ethiopian Airlines black boxes showed ‘clear similarities’




SBI not able to finalise resolution plan for Jet Airways after 75 days

Since 31st December 2018, Jet Airways has not paid its debt. Its lenders are trying the debt-equity turnaround plan for the last 75 days or so. Interest, as usual, kept on increasing every day, Jet could not earn adequately as lessors repossessed their planes. The situation has moved from bad to worse.

Amidst increasing differences between Jet Airways and Etihad Airways, the only party that can bailout the beleaguered airline, over the equity cap that its founder chairman Naresh Goyal can hold after his forced exit, bankers on Friday exuded confidence of reaching a resolution plan as early as next week.

After agreeing to cap his shareholding at 22 per cent for perpetuity and completely exit the airline’s management as a precondition for a bailout that Etihad and bankers demanded, Goyal had last Friday wrote to Etihad to remove the perpetuity clause from the resolution plan and also the Gulf carrier immediately offer a lifeline of Rs 750 crore failing which the airline may get grounded.

This, according to media reports, has put off the Gulf carrier which already owns 24 per cent in the airline which has grounded 42 per cent of its 119 aircraft, most of them due to non-payment lease rentals to the aircraft lessors.

According to the draft resolution plan submitted to the lenders led by the lead lender SBI, Etihad will bring in around Rs 1,800 crore as fresh equity and increases its stake to 24.9 per cent, while Goyal will chip in with Rs 750 crore and the rest of the Rs 3,800 crore come from other investors.

Founder chairman Goyal and his family own 52 per cent in the airline now which he had agreed to pare down to 22 per cent to secure a financial bailout.

“It is a work in progress. Very soon, say by next week, we will have a solution plan in place,” a senior SBI official said here Friday.

The official said the resolution plans had started on November 1 last. “Any resolution plan for a corporate is a very complex process. Things don’t happen in a day or two or in even 15 days.

“There are various stakeholders, who have to be aligned; there are promoters and joint venture partners, so when the situation is so complex, it takes time,” SBI explained the reason for the delay.

“We are making every effort and SBI is leading that effort. We are clear on one thing: to ensure that the airline runs and not get grounded and not to stave off our accounts becoming NPAs. That’s the fundamental difference between any other NPA and Jet Airways,” he added.

Jet has a debt of over Rs 8,200 crore and needs to make repayments of up to Rs 1,700 crore by the end of March. It has already defaulted on an ECB payment earlier this week but is servicing its domestic debt.

The acute liquidity crunch has forced it to ground aircraft, shut down stations and delay salary payments to its pilots and engineers along with other senior staff. Since last July the airline has been trying to raise funds as cash crunch mounted leading to salary delays since then.

On March 8, Goyal wrote to Etihad chief executive Tony Douglas seeking an urgent funding of Rs 750 crore under an agreement signed between various stakeholders.

On 14 February, Jet Airways board approved a bank-led resolution plan whereby lenders would become the largest shareholders in the airline. Following approval from the shareholders, part of debt would be converted into 11.4 crore shares at a consideration of Re 1 apiece as per the RBI norms.