Regular-article-logo Wednesday, 07 June 2023

Jet Airways health concerns grow

The airline maintained they are operating on a curtailed schedule with sufficient number of aircrafts

Our Special Correspondent Mumbai/Delhi Published 03.04.19, 07:22 PM
Jet Airways did not specify the number of planes in operation.

Jet Airways did not specify the number of planes in operation. Source: Shutterstock

Confusion on the number of aircraft Jet Airways was flying prevailed throughout the day on Wednesday with the civil aviation ministry and the sector regulator speaking in different voices.

The confusion arose as the airline had informed the bourses late Tuesday evening that it had grounded 15 planes because of payment issues. As the grounding took the number of planes in operation to below 20, there were queries whether the airline could continue to operate international flights or not.


Civil aviation secretary P.S. Kharola’s response to a query earlier in the day was: “Yesterday, it was 28….the current fleet would be less than about 15”.

When pointed out the number of planes flown by the carrier would flout the existing rules for international operations, the aviation secretary said Jet Airways’ ability to fly international needed to be “examined”.

Regulator DGCA, however, maintained that “Jet Airways continues to fly 28 aircraft as on date”.

The watchdog said: “The 15 aircraft reported are already accounted for and was only informed to the bourses by Jet Airways yesterday.”

A Jet Airways spokesperson said in a statement, “Jet Airways would like to clarify certain speculative media reports with respect to the airline’s ability to operate on international routes. As informed to the regulator, the airline is operating a curtailed schedule with sufficient number of aircrafts, and is compliant with applicable guidelines.”

However, the airline did not specify the number of planes in operation. If the airline has less than 20 planes, it becomes ineligible to fly internationally, officials said.

Later in the evening, Kharola clarified that Jet was operating around 28 planes and of them, about 15 were operating on domestic routes.

Lender meet

Lenders to Jet Airways are set to meet on Thursday amid a Supreme Court judgment which quashed the February 12, 2018 circular of the RBI. The circular formed the basis of a resolution plan that was approved by the board of the airline last month.

A key part of the solution for the turnaround of the airline was the conversion of Re 1 of lenders debt into equity through the issuance of 11.4 crore shares. This was in accordance with the circular.

The apex court had in its judgment said the circular will have to be declared as ‘ultra vires as a whole’ and that all actions taken under it, ‘including actions by which the insolvency code has been triggered must fall along with the said circular’.

Meanwhile, the airline deferred the March salary payment to its employees, citing “complexities” involved in the finalisation of the debt recast plan.

Goyal on funds

Jet Airways promoter and former chairman Naresh Goyal on Wednesday said he had agreed to every term and condition laid down by the lenders to ensure the timely release of funds for the airline.

Meanwhile, civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday ruled out any interference in efforts to help Jet Airways, saying the government should not be seen to be doing any kind of deals to help an airline.

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