After Jet Airways (JAI, Mumbai Int'l) and Kingfisher Airlines (IT, Mumbai Int'l), the turbulence in India's aviation sector continues. Now it is the turn of Pawan Hans Helicopters (Delhi Int'l) to deal with a financial crisis.

The helicopter operator has admitted in a circular to its employees that it is unable to pay their salaries for the month of April due to "an uncomfortable financial position", the ANI news agency reports.

"The industry's future is uncertain as many of our established businesses and our associated challenges are threatening future deployments. In terms of financial performance, the revenue has sharply declined in the financial year 2018-19 and the company has incurred a net loss to the tune going to ₹89 crore [INR890 million rupees; USD12.84 million] during this financial year," the message said.

It added that "the situation has further turned critical as the outstanding amount lying with various customers has risen to alarming levels of over ₹230 crore."

Employees who are "directly contributing to the production" are exempted from the wage deferral. The circular said that the measure would remain in place until 60% of the outstanding debts are recovered.

The Pawan Hans Employees Union responded that the move was "inhuman" and threatened repercussions.

On April 21, the Indian government decided to call off a second bid to privatise the company after it received no offers from investors for its 51% stake. The remaining 49% stake belongs to state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). The government has been trying to divest the company since late 2017.

Pawan Hans operates forty-one helicopters and offers mostly sightseeing and charter flights, but also makes scheduled flights between Daman and Diu in western India.