Three years after it was grounded following a financial crunch, Jet Airways is set to take to the skies once again, with the carrier getting the aviation regulator’s nod to restart operations.
The full-service carrier is slated to start commercial operations in the third quarter of this calendar year.
Jet Airways received a revalidated Air Operator Certificate (AOC), the final step in the compliance process to check an airline’s operational readiness, from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The AOC enables Jet Airways to resume its scheduled commercial operations in India, it said in a statement on Friday.
The AOC process included the carrier demonstrating a number of proving flights between May 15 and May 17, with key DGCA officials on board.
“Today marks a new dawn for not just Jet Airways, but also for the Indian aviation industry. We are now at the brink of creating history by bringing India’s most-loved airline back to the skies. We will not only live up to the great expectations from brand Jet Airways, but also exceed them in many ways for today’s discerning flyers. We are committed to making this an extraordinary success story in Indian aviation and in Indian business,” Murari Lal Jalan, Lead Member of Jalan-Kalrock Consortium, said.
Jalan-Kalrock Consortium is the successful resolution applicant of Jet Airways following its bankruptcy process. Jet Airways was the first carrier to be taken to National Company Law Tribunal by its lenders, and the now the airline is restarting operations under its own name, with a new management.
In June 2021, NCLT approved UK-based Kalrock Capital and UAE-based businessman Jalan’s resolution plan. The consortium had proposed to pay ₹1,183 crore to creditors over a period of five years from the proceeds of the sale of assets and cash flow.
Before it shut operations in April 2019, the carrier serviced about 1,000 domestic and international routes. In its second avatar, Jet Airways 2.0, India’s oldest private airline will first fly on major domestic routes and then to foreign destinations.
Earlier in March, the consortium announced the appointment of travel industry veteran Sanjiv Kapoor as the CEO of the grounded carrier, effective April 4. Kapoor, was president of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, and had also worked with rival airlines such as Tata-owned Vistara and SpiceJet in leadership roles.
“There is a need for an airline that is simply not a clone of other airlines, but actually offers something that is meaningfully different while offering new ways to attract, delight and win customers. An airline that understands that doing the right thing by customers, staff, partners and all stakeholders is the only way to do business. All of us on the re-start team are deeply committed and passionate about building the new Jet Airways into a modern, differentiated, people-focused airline for the digital age,” Kapoor said.
Additional senior management appointments will be unveiled next week, and hiring for operational roles will also now commence in earnest, with former Jet Airways staff getting preference wherever possible, the statement added.
Days ahead of Kapoor’s appointment, Jet Airways roped in former Sri Lankan Airlines’ CEO Vipula Gunatileka as its chief financial officer.
On its restarting plans, the carrier said it will come back in a new avatar, with fresh funding, changed ownership and new management. Aircraft and fleet plan, network, product, loyalty programmes and other details will be unveiled in a phased manner over the coming weeks, it said.
Once airborne, Jet Airways will have to compete with low-cost carriers such as SpiceJet and IndiGo, and ace investor Rakesh Jhunjunwala-backed Akasa, which is also expected to start operations soon.