Jet takes back staff, Aviation Ministry takes credit

Jet employees

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on Friday said he was happy that 1,900 people got back their jobs in Jet Airways, within a day of his asking the airline's boss to solve the problem.

"I called the Chairman (Naresh Goyal) on Thursday morning to meet me in Hyderabad... I had also told him that in 24 hours, we must find a resolution to this problem otherwise we in the ministry would certainly not be very happy with the approach of Jet Airways," he told reporters.

"I am happy that people have got back their jobs. I had spoken to Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal on the issue. I am glad that they have reversed their decision," said Patel, who had earlier on Wednesday dubbed the decision as a corporate matter.

"Domestic airlines in India are facing losses of 70-80 billion rupees ($1.4-$1.6 billion) due to high jet fuel costs, and the government will try to help them tide over the difficulty," the Civil Aviation Minister said on Friday.

Patel did not give details as to how the government would help the airlines, but said it was trying to persuade state government's to reduce taxes on jet fuel and was asking oil firms to help out. "We must try to rationalise taxes. Oil companies must also co-operate," he said.

At a press conference late Thursday night, Goyal had said the reinstatement decision was "not under political pressure and I have not met anybody... There was no internal or external pressure."

"I apologise for all the agony you had to go through for two days. You can all come back to work from tomorrow. We have decided to take back all the employees," said Naresh Goyal, Chairman, Jet Airways.

Seeking to wriggle out of a financial mess, Jet on Wednesday fired 1,900 probationary staff who were hired for proposed expansion plans, which have since been put on hold.

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