Jet Airways to take to the skies by March qtr
NEW DELHI : Jet Airways (India) Ltd, grounded for more than two years, plans to resume domestic flights by the March quarter and achieve a fleet of more than 50 planes in three years.
The plans were outlined by the airline’s new owners on Monday as they sought to assuage investor concerns amid legal bottlenecks that have cropped up recently.
“The process of reviving the grounded carrier is on track with the existing Air Operator Certificate (AOC) already under process for revalidation," according to a statement from the consortium of UK-based Kalrock Capital and UAE-based entrepreneur Murari Lal Jalan, which won a bid last year to acquire Jet Airways.
“The consortium is working closely with the relevant authorities and airport coordinators on slot allocation, required airport infrastructure, and night parking," the statement said.
Captain Sudhir Gaur has been appointed as the accountable manager and acting chief executive.
“Jet Airways 2.0 aims at restarting domestic operations by Q1-2022, and short haul international operations by Q3/Q4 2022. Our plan is to have 50+ aircraft in 3 years and 100+ in 5 years which also fits perfectly well with the short-term and long-term business plan of the Consortium," Jalan, the lead member of the consortium and the proposed non-executive chairman of Jet Airways said.
“The aircraft are being selected based on competitive long term leasing solutions," Jalan added.
Jalan did not comment on the ongoing legal cases against Jet Airways that could potentially impact the airline’s relaunch.
Queries sent to Jalan through a public relations firm representing him did not yield any response.
Punjab National Bank (PNB), one of the lenders of Jet Airways and which had earlier approved the resolution plan, has challenged it at the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) posing a fresh hurdle to revive the carrier. This happened barely a week after NCLAT agreed to hear claims by Jet Airways employee associations, who flagged concerns about pending pay and retirement benefits under the resolution plan.
The litigation by PNB could also set a precedent for other creditors of Jet Airways to approach the court to seek relief in the future, further delaying a relaunch of the airline, a senior aviation consultant said on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, the new owners of Jet Airways will also have to apply afresh for airport slots that were taken away when the airline was grounded in April 2019.
Before Jet Airways stopped operations, it owned several prime slots in the airports of Mumbai and New Delhi. Flights in the early morning and late evening usually provide higher yields as they target business travellers. However, Jet Airways 2.0 may not have this advantage when it resume flights.