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Jet Airways clears key hurdle in comeback bid

June 22, 2021
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The consortium, which includes Murari Lal Jalan, a UAE-based investor, expects to restart operations of the defunct airline in four to six months.

The UAE investor-led consortium, which has taken over the ownership of the grounded Jet Airways, has been given assurance of 170 pairs of slots by around 30 airports, a key development in the airline’s protracted efforts to stage a comeback after more than two years.

The consortium, which includes Murari Lal Jalan, a UAE-based investor, expects to restart operations of the defunct airline in four to six months once after receiving the approval for its revival plan from the National Company Law Tribunal, India’s top bankruptcy court.

The consortium, also comprising Kalrock Capital, a London-based investment fund, submitted a Rs10 billion plan to re-launch the debt-ridden airline in November 2020. It believes it is vital for some of these slots to be restored or the plan to operate to airline will not be viable, sources told the paper.

The new owners are reportedly in talks with the government about the availability of slots. Jet Airways is also in talks with Airbus and Boeing for fleet expansion under a five-year plan, a reliable source said.

Before it stopped operations in April 2019, Jet Airways had close to 700 slot pairs, including 116 and 214 in prime airports of Delhi and Mumbai, according to airline sources. Those slots were allotted to other domestic carriers following the grounding of Jet Airways in April 2019.

Etihad Aviation Group holds 24% of Jet Airways

The new owners of the grounded carrier, in which Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Aviation Group held a 24 per cent stake, plan to restart operations with 30 narrow-body and five wide-body aircraft, and plans to expand the fleet to 120 aircraft in five years.

The carrier plans to retire all the 11 aircraft in its existing fleet, and replace them with new fuel-efficient aircraft on lease. The company is likely to hire 50-75 employees per aircraft. Jet Airways, which had 16,000 employees when it stopped operating, now has a few hundred people on its rolls. In an affidavit submitted to the bankruptcy court, The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MCA) and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have said Jet Airways cannot claim historicity to obtain the slots.The government and the aviation regulator said allocation of slots will happen in accordance with the existing guidelines.

khaleejtimes

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