Sunday, October 18, 2020

Jet Airways gets buyer in Kalrock Capital and Murari Lal Jalan but likely to fly next year only

New Delhi: Nearly one-and-a-half years after it shut shop and admitted under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), Jet Airways finally found a buyer on Saturday.  The consortium of Kalrock Capital and Murari Lal Jalan are the new owners of the airline. 

The details of the offer made by Jalan-Karlock to acquire the airline have not been disclosed. Analysts warned of many challenges for the new owners but even if everything goes right, it could still take up to eight months to get the Jet planes back in the skies.

Jalan is a businessman with interest in diverse sectors ranging from real estate to mining. Besides India, he has investments in the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Uzbekistan. Kalrock Capital, founded by European entrepreneur Florian Fritsch, is a global firm operating in financial advisory and alternative asset management.

Experts feel joblessness in the aviation sector due to the pandemic and poor financial health of aircraft lessors will help the new owners cut costs. For passengers, the resumption of Jet’s services will mean competitive fares and more options on international routes.

Jet has lost most of its aircraft. To boot, its slots at major airports and traffic rights have been awarded to other carriers. The carrier owes more than Rs 8,000 crore to a group of banks led by State Bank of India and YES Bank. Overall, Jet is facing claims of around Rs 40,000 crore from various creditors including banks, suppliers and employees. Of this, the NCLT has admitted claims worth Rs 15,525 crore. 

Industry estimates suggest the new owners will have to spend around Rs 1,000 crore to acquire licence, get necessary manpower on board and lease new aircraft to start operations. At present, Jet has only six old aircraft in its kitty while it used to have 120 planes.

18/10/20 Arshad Khan/New Indian Express

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