Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Jet Airways insolvency: Revival plans get a 'reset' as boarding time gets extended

With the wait to board Jet Airways getting longer, the Jalan-Kalrock consortium may be forced to 'reset' the timeline to revive the airline. While the earlier plan was to get Jet 2.0 in the air by April, the re-launch may get pushed by 90 days, sources close to the development told Moneycontrol.

At the same time, the consortium is using the time in hand to fine-tune its strategy to revive the airline, especially amid the new circumstances post-COVID-19.

"The emphasis will be to control costs and generate cash flow at the earliest. The priority thus is to first start off with cargo operations, given that demand for freight, especially with India emerging as the vaccine hub, continuing to be robust," said a senior executive from the industry, in the know of things.

The consortium had won the bid for Jet Airways in October 2020 and had plans to re-launch the airline by the summer of 2021. For that it was crucial to get the clearance from the National Company Law Tribunal by January, in order to get slots for the summer schedule of airlines that is released by regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation, or DGCA.

But that timeline has been disrupted with multiple hearings and petitions. The Mumbai bench of the  NCLT will now give its order on February 22 whether or not to share the resolution plan of Jet Airways with its employees.

Meanwhile, the State Bank of India - the airline's lead banker - had filed an appeal with National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, asking it to direct the NCLT to expedite the approval process. In January itself, an association of engineers working in Jet Airways had filed an application to fasten the proceedings.

Jet Airways was grounded in April 2019. Hopes of many of its employees had soared after the consortium of UAE-based businessman Murari Lal Jalan and London's Kalrock Capital won the bid for the airline.

16/02/21 Prince Mathews Thomas/Moneycontrol

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