Is this the end? Jet Airways suspends operations

Debarka Banik,CC BY-SA 2.0

Update: After State Bank of India refused to infuse fresh funds, Jet Airways is suspending all flights, effective immediately.

The carrier announced the news on April 17, 2019, quoting inability to pay for “fuel or other critical services” necessary for operations.

“After 25 years of sharing the Joy of Flying with Indian and International guests, Jet Airways and its Board of Directors have been forced to take this extreme measure, as prolonged and sustained efforts with lenders and authorities to ensure the sustainability of the airline did not yield the desired results,” the company’s CEO is quoted in a statement as saying.

The carrier now awaits the outcome of the ongoing bidding, claiming to be “hopeful that we will be able to bring the Joy of Flying back to you soon”.

Earlier on April 17, 2019:

The airline CEO has reportedly informed State Bank of India, the main loaner of the carrier, that unless it received an immediate financial boost, Jet Airways would be forced to close its flight operations, as soon as April 17, 2019, according to India Today.

The threat is hardly surprising, keeping in mind that the airline has already lost the right to operate international flights due to its lack of aircraft earlier this month. On April 17, 2019, its website lists only 37 domestic flights, explaining the reasoning behind massive cancellations (yesterday alone it canceled ten flights) as “operational”.

Some media reports indicate that the carrier could be down to as little as five aircraft in its fleet, which used to stand at over 120 planes during the better times. On April 17, 2019, lessors have applied to deregister four more Boeing 737s, so the planes can be retrieved and re-leased, Reuters reports.

On March 25, 2019, a consortium of Jet Airways domestic lenders, led by State Bank of India, became the majority shareholders and took a transient control of the airline, until a suitable investor is found. The lenders were due to provide an “immediate interim funding support of INR 1500 crore” (approximately $216 million) to the ailing airline, but there a little signs that the promise was kept.

On another hand, the search for a potential investor appears to be still ongoing. While the news are yet to be made official, Indian media already reports four companies have been shortlisted: Indigo Partners, National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF), TPG Capital, Indigo Partners, and Etihad Airways, which currently holds 12% stake in the airline.

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