Saturday, October 24, 2020

Government ready to bless restart of Jet Airways

The government is ready to bless the restart of Jet Airways and resumption of its domestic operations is likely to be a smooth process after aircraft availability and fund infusion, CNBC-TV18 has learned.

Incorporated in 1992, Jet Airways started flights in 1993 with a fleet of four aircraft and a network of 12 destinations. After 26 years, the airline suffered severe financial stress, could not come up with ways of fund infusion and debt repayment and shut down on April 17, 2019.

“The air operator certificate of Jet Airways still remains suspended. The government will look at reviving the air operator certificate after the airline clears the necessary regulatory clearances…the regulator will check for airworthiness, maintenance of their equipment, etc….once these processes are complete then they will be able to fly again,” a senior official told CNBC-TV18.

Jet Airways, the biggest international airline from India until last year, had its hub in Mumbai with a host of international flights. However, as the airline started grounding flights, its active fleet reduced to 5 in April 2019 as compared to 119 in Jan 2019. As a result, its slots at airports were given to other airlines by a committee formed by the civil aviation ministry.

Nearly 1.5 years later, the airline will need to re-apply for the slots at domestic airports but the allocation of slots at Indian airports is expected to be a smooth process, especially in view of current weak traffic levels due to COVID-19, officials said.

“Jet Airways need to re-apply for slots at Indian airports…but we don’t foresee issues in slot availability for Jet Airways at Indian airports. Resumption of domestic operations at Indian airports seems to be a smooth process once there is aircraft availability, fund infusion. However, for foreign airports, payment of pending dues will be a concern so it may take some time for overseas operations,” the official added.

External factors such as COVID-19-led weakness in lease rentals, staff costs are also likely to be favorable for the resumption of Jet Airways, officials added.

23/10/20 Anu Sharma/CNBC TV18

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