Air India has almost concluded hiring 150 cabin crew staff of Jet Airways for its international routes on Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 aircraft. The state-owned airline also informed the State Bank of India (SBI) that it was looking at the prospects of leasing five of Jet's grounded wide-bodied Boeing 777 aircraft to service international destinations such as London, Dubai and Singapore.
In addition, Air India is also offering special fares to Jet Airways' passengers who have confirmed return tickets for travel till April 28 on 19 international routes, the Indian Express reported.
Jet is under the management control of the SBI-led consortium of lenders at present.
The consortium has proposed to offload stake between 32.1 per cent and 75 per cent to a qualified investor after it assesses all bids. As yet, four-five parties have submitted Expression of Interest (EOI) to the lenders. The whole process is expected to conclude by May 10 after the eligible parties submit binding bids, the report said.
The bankers had rejected the airline's plea for emergency funds which led to Jet halting all its flights and operations temporarily on Wednesday. The airline had more than 16000 employees on its rolls and was left with just five aircraft.
Air India's Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani wrote a letter to SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar to explore the "possibility of operating a few B777 aircraft, on their established routes that stand suspended at present."
There are 10 wide-bodied Boeing 777-300 ER planes and a few Airbus A330s in Jet's fleet which were used by the airline to service routes connecting New Delhi and Mumbai with international destinations such as London, Paris and Amsterdam. Lohani further wrote in the letter that "the move was subject to approvals and financial viability, and Air India can examine the possibility of taking five B777s on wet/dry lease basis from SBI on mutually agreed terms."
An Air India spokesperson told the news daily that the airline had advertised for recruiting 400 cabin crew staff of which 150 were employed with Jet Airways. Jet has 4,000 cabin attendants on its payroll. The representative also said that the crew members will be hired on a contractual basis for five years.
Senior pilots and maintenance personnel of Jet Airways have also approached Air India seeking employment. But, the airline has not yet worked on a plan to recruit pilots and maintenance staff, as per another Air India official. Meanwhile, a lot of Jet's pilots have gone ahead and joined IndiGo and SpiceJet.