Emerging as a white-knight for beleaguered SpiceJet, Ajay Singh, one of its original promoters, today met Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju in an effort to bring the troubled carrier out of crisis.
“They (SpiceJet) have told the Ministry that they are likely to get an investor. The airline does not have a safety issue (but) it is going through financial stress. They are trying to address their financial woes,” Raju said after the meeting late this evening.
He said Singh shared some “thoughts” about the no-frill carrier’s recapitalisation plans though these were not concrete plans as yet.
The minister, however, declined to go into specifics of whether a domestic or international investor would infuse funds into the cash-strapped airline.
He confirmed that the airline had sought “rescheduling” of its dues to various vendors and service providers, including airports and oil marketing companies.
SpiceJet has debts of Rs 1,600 crore on December 5 which had prompted aviation regulator DGCA to put them under heightened surveillance.
This was the second meeting Singh had with the government in as many days. Yesterday, he had met Civil Aviation Secretary V Somasundaran. Singh had exited from the carrier over four years ago.
Though Singh did not speak to reporters, sources said he had held discussions with SpiceJet officials before he met the Minister and the Secretary.
Earlier, S L Narayanan, CFO of SpiceJet’s parent company Sun Group, had told PTI, “We need some breathing time… If we get a reprieve from the banks, Mr (Kalanithi) Maran is ready to give guarantee we can restart the engine. Once the collection starts coming in, we will pay (the dues).”
Maran has already invested around Rs 820 crore in the last three years and he has invested whenever the airline has needed money, he had said.