(Reuters) - India's SpiceJet Ltd said on Friday it will prioritize hiring employees of Jet Airways Ltd who are losing their jobs after the crisis-hit Indian airline halted all flight operations indefinitely this week.
"We have already provided jobs to more than 100 pilots, more than 200 cabin crew and more than 200 technical and airport staff," said Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director of SpiceJet. "We will do more."
Hundreds of Jet Airways employees protested in Delhi and Mumbai on Thursday to push its management for answers about their future after the airline shut down all flight operations on Wednesday having failed to secure new funding from its lenders.
Jet Airways has lost many employees as the crisis unfolded. About 400 pilots have moved to other airlines, leaving Jet with about 1,300 pilots, a senior Jet pilot told Reuters. About 40 engineers have also left, a senior engineer said.
Lenders, led by State Bank Of India, say they are hopeful of a successful bidding process for Jet. The carrier is saddled with about $1.2 billion in debt.
Low cost carrier SpiceJet, which pledged to add 27 planes over the next two weeks to help to fill in the slots left vacant by Jet's grounding, said that it is making all possible efforts to minimise passenger inconvenience.
The government plans to form a committee to temporarily allocate takeoff and landing slots left vacant by the grounding of Jet's flights, a senior official said on Thursday. Local airlines including InterGlobe Aviation Ltd and state-run Air India are likely to benefit.
Air India on Thursday offered special fares to passengers stranded in international routes due to Jet's grounding.
(Reporting By Arnab Paul in Bengaluru and Tanvi Mehta in Mumbai; Editing by Martin Howell)