Cabin crew and ground staff at Jet Airways (JAI, Mumbai Int'l) have united to challenge the Kalrock-Jalan consortium’s proposal to revive the airline, expressing concerns about unpaid salaries and retirement benefits, and have filed a petition on the matter to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), the Press Trust of India reported.

The Jet Airways Cabin Crew Association (JACCA) and ground-staff union Bhartiya Kamgar Sena claimed that money owed to employees had not been included as part of insolvency proceedings taking place under the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP).

In June, the Mumbai Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approved the consortium’s resolution plan for Jet Airways, which ceased flight operations in April 2019. But the two unions asked the appeal tribunal to “quash and set aside” this ruling and urged that its execution - and the sale of assets such as aircraft, spare parts, and ground equipment - be postponed until their petition is heard.

The petition explained that the consortium’s plan includes the demerger of Jet Airways subsidiary Airjet Ground Services Ltd (AGSL) and that employees who were on the payroll on the date of the plan’s approval will be transferred to this segregated entity.

Once this takes place, Jet Airways “will not be liable for all the retirement benefits of said demerged employees at all, and AGSL, which is not yet even operational, will be solely responsible for the said liability,” it said. Jet Airways cabin crew and ground staff have not been paid since March 2019, according to the petition, claims which have been submitted to the CIRP.

The petition also denounced the consortium’s alleged requirement that if fewer than 95% of Jet Airways’ employees voted in support of the revival plan during a poll that started on July 5, then the consortium would be entitled to liquidate AGSL.

The Kalrock-Jalan consortium has said that while more than 3,500 employees were associated with Jet Airways when it ceased operations, it plans to take on only a few hundred of them when services resume. According to a report in the newspaper Business Line, it told the NCLT that facilitating the training and certification of existing employees “shall incur more costs and it would be more cost-effective to hire trained experts from the market and deploy them on the new fleet.”