Jet Airways crisis: 15 more planes grounded over non-payment

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Published: April 3, 2019 7:06:34 AM

The lenders will invite expression of interest for bids by April 9 and the deadline for binding bids will be April 30, while a new investor is expected to be on board by May 31.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on April 1 approved Jet’s summer schedule for four weeks under which it planned to operate 215 daily flights.

Despite an undertaking to not ground further planes, cash-strapped Jet Airways on Tuesday said 15 more aircraft have been grounded due to non-payment of lease rentals, reducing the operational fleet to just 20.
The full-service carrier had 35 aircraft, down 70% from its operational fleet of 119 at the end of December 2018. Jet last grounded seven aircraft owing payment default to lessors on March 22.

Jet’s management had assured the ministry of civil aviation on March 26 that no further planes would be grounded as its lenders led by State Bank of India (SBI) would provide immediate funding of `1,500 crore as part of the revival plan.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on April 1 approved Jet’s summer schedule for four weeks under which it planned to operate 215 daily flights.

According to the experts, with fresh grounding announced on Tuesday, Jet is unlikely to maintain its operating schedule. Jet’s management had assured the ministry of civil aviation last week that its fleet strength would reach 75 aircraft by April-end on the back of immediate funding proposed by SBI.

The ministry is looking to allocate Jet’s landing slots to other airlines this week to operate on interim basis.
Jet operated around 650 daily flights during the 2018 summer schedule applicable between April and October.

Last week, civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said Jet had shared an aggressive target to bring back 40 aircraft into service. “We want to have maximum number of aircraft in service during the peak holiday season so that passengers do not suffer,” Kharola had told reporters.

On March 25, Jet’s board approved a revival plan put by SBI which involved the stepping down of its promoter-chairman Naresh Goyal and the banks providing an immediate funding of `1,500 crore. An interim management committee will be formed to manage and monitor the daily operations and cash flow of the company.

The lenders will invite expression of interest for bids by April 9 and the deadline for binding bids will be April 30, while a new investor is expected to be on board by May 31.

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