As a frequent flyer on Jet Airways, I keep a hawk eye on them. So necessarily, I was also taken aback just like the rest of you when an article popped up on Economic Times talking about Jet Airways’ recent losses and the fact that they were asking for people to take an upto 25% pay cut.
The alarming statement there was that the airline had money to survive 60 days and no more, if people did not take a paycut. Now, for everyone, this should be amusing. Last I knew, HR was 11% of their total cost base, and while managements routinely try and chop at this base, I don’t think they’d be out there telling people “if you don’t….” The key problem is low fares, and while a certain airline continues to dump capacity on all sectors, there is no way that airlines are going to be able to raise fares, like I wrote here.
In the airline business, just like some others, costs are definitive and revenue is seasonal. Also, costs are variable due to linkages with oil.
Having said that, it seems the trouble has blown over, for now. Friday was full of statements from Jet Airways, Jet Airways pilots and Jet Airways Engineers, everyone assuring that they would be working towards helping the airline.
This morning, it seems the same newspaper has reported that the trouble has blown over. They state that Jet Airways management has conceded and the paycut is not going to happen. Everyone got their salaries too, and it was closure for this episode of drama at Jet Airways.
Jet Airways has in the past as well, tried to cut HR costs, but everytime, word gets out and they have to recede. As one of the more prominent brands, clearly, for them, it is important to manage the brand, and hence, someone always stays on the mischief to make sure they get what they want. Having said that, no airline in India is free of trouble, and they have all seen their fair share of industrial unrest being played out in public.
Bottomline is, it is business as usual at the airline, and we can all go back to work.
If there is anything that we should know, feel free to chime in in the comments section.