Jet Airways Seeks Debt Settlement Ahead Of Planned Flight Relaunch
The new owners of Jet Airways want to restart operations early next year and have approached the relevant authorities, requesting to fast-track the debt settlement process. In order to commence domestic operations, the Kalrock-Jalan consortium wants to start clearing the payments due to various stakeholders, including ex-employees and ticket claimants, and complete other formalities ahead of flight relaunch.
Jet Airways’ new owners want to start the resolution process immediately. Photo: Getty Images
Early restart in 2022
In June, the National Companies Law Tribunal (NCLT) approved the insolvency resolution plan of Jet Airways, allowing the carrier to restart its revival process. Saddled with heavy debt, the consortium plans to gradually pay off creditors over the next few years.
The carrier has approached the NCLT again and, in its latest filing, has informed December 22, 2021, as the “effective date” when they want to start implementing the plan, which was approved back in June.
The consortium wants to infuse funds into the carrier to start the resolution process in order to commence operations without any further delay. Murari Lal Jalan, lead member of the consortium and proposed promoter and Non-Executive Chairman of Jet Airways said,
“The Consortium is ready with its investments and given the progress the team has made operationally since NCLT Approval in June 2021, we feel it is time to fund the company immediately for the revival of the business, without delay. We are aiming to start Domestic Operations at the earliest in 2022 as a Full-Service Carrier and look forward to creating history with Jet Airways revival.”
The team at Jet wants to restart operations early next year. Photo: Getty Images
OC being revived; slots being discussed
The Jet Airways team is hopeful of clearing all other hurdles in time for an early 2022 relaunch. One of the first things that Jet needs is a valid Air Operator Certificate (AOC). The company has been working for months to get the certificate revalidated and thinks that the process should be completed soon.
Jalan pointed out that Jet is not applying for a fresh AOC but instead reviving the carrier’s existing AOC, which is valid until 2023 and was suspended in 2019 due to the company’s financial woes. He feels the time taken to remove the suspension will be substantially less compared to applying for a new one.
Then there are the slots. Jet commanded a substantial hold on airport slots in the country at the peak of its operations, but that has since changed. The airline faced a setback this year when India’s aviation regulator, the DGCA, declined its request to reclaim old slots, which have since been redistributed to other airlines. But the consortium is currently engaged in several discussions with key airports and is hopeful of getting the required slots before the summer schedule next year.
People at Jet are busy getting the AOC revived and reclaiming important airport slots ahead of the relaunch. Getty Images
Modest fleet to begin with
As previously reported, Jet is looking to add 100+ narrowbody aircraft in the next five years, but for immediate operations, it will start with a modest fleet of six planes.
For its larger restructuring program, the Jalan-Kalrock Consortium is in conversation with both Boeing and Airbus for an order of at least 100 narrowbodies, which is said to have a budget of around $12 billion.
Many believe the potential order to go in favor of Boeing’s MAX series, given its keen interest to re-establish itself in India’s narrowbody market and offering lucrative discounts to edge out Airbus. A strong 737 fleet would mirror Jet’s first outing, which relied mainly on the Boeing narrowbody for the bulk of its domestic operations. An A320 carrying Jet’s livery would be quite a departure from how people have been used to seeing Jet Airways.
Regardless, an official announcement about an aircraft order is likely to happen sometime next year. For now, all eyes are on Jet’s initial performance as it sets out to relaunch flight operations in one of the most tumultuous eras in Indian aviation.