Thursday, July 28, 2022

Grounded for Three Years, Jet Airways Ready to be in Sky Soon Under New Management

Virtually written off following massive financial problems, Jet Airways is now ready for its reincarnation, this time under new management, come September.

Paving the way for the private carrier’s revival, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) granted the revalidated Air Operator Certificate to the new owners, Jalan Kalrock Consortium (JKC), on May 20.

The JKC fulfilled all the conditions laid down in the NCLT-approved resolution plan for the revival of the airline, founded in April 1992 and launched in 1993 by businessman Naresh Goyal, and shut after 27 years in April 2019.

Jet Airways now hopes to launch commercial operations in September with fresh funding of more than Rs 1,300 crore over the next couple of years, changed ownership with new management, and a few other changes to re-capture its market.

Though starting with a fleet of 11 aircraft of Jet Airways that got transferred as assets to the kitty of the new entity, these planes are unlikely to be deployed for commercial operations, said official sources.

However, the company is at an advanced stage of discussions with lessors and aircraft manufacturers before finalising its choice of aircraft and fleet plans - a critical decision for any airline — though officials remained tight-lipped.

“Jet Airways shall be a smart’ full-service carrier, with a two-class cabin configuration, including a world-class business class and an evolved economy class in tune with the demands of the digital age customers," explained an official spokesperson.

A high-level source made it clear that Jet Airways will not be “a small or marginal airline, but will grow-to-scale", though he kept all plans secret for the carrier that once strutted with a fleet strength of 124 big and small, wide-body and narrow-body aircraft.

Prior to its suspension of operations over three years ago, Jet Airways had grabbed more than one-fifth of the country’s aviation market, with 65-plus destinations in India and globally, as many others like Air India, Indian Airlines, or private competitors like East West, ModiLuft, Sahara, NEPC and more crash landed by the wayside.

This time, the scenario is much different considering rising operational costs, wary customers just stirring out after a two-year Covid pandemic halt, the once floundering Air India now in the safe arms’ of Tata Group, and other airlines going determinedly for their share, etc.

The revived Jet Airways has taken the first baby steps of its historic revival’ with over 250 staffers, including nearly 75 percent former employees, onboard, and now sifting through thousands of applications at various levels, with the hiring of pilots, engineers, technicians, etc. to happen soon.

28/07/22 IANS/

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