Jet Airways’ fleet now comprises less than 15 operational aircraft, news agency PTI quoted Civil Aviation Secretary P S Kharola as saying. The debt-laden airline that had a total fleet of 119 planes, has been grounding its aircraft in tranches due to non-payment of dues to lessors. “Currently, Jet Airways is operating less than 15 aircraft. The airline’s eligibility to fly internationally needs to be examined,” he said, reported ANI.
In announcements made since January this year, the cash-strapped airline has rendered more than 54 planes non-operational due to lease rental defaults. After more 15 aircraft were grounded on Tuesday evening, Kharola said the current fleet “would be less than about 15”. Till “yesterday, it was 28,” he added.
After the reports came out, shares of the company fell up to 4 per cent on Wednesday. On BSE, the stock opened on a negative note at Rs 257.80 and further declined 3.90 per cent to a low of Rs 254.55. Similarly, on NSE, the scrip touched a low of Rs 254.40, down 4 per cent from the previous close.
Regarding funding issues of the airline, Kharola – who was speaking on the sidelines of an event – said: “The issue is between bankers and Jet management. So they are discussing with each other.”
The grounding of aircraft has disrupted the operations of Jet Airways, which cancelled a number of flights last month.
Owing to only partial availability of its fleet, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has approved Jet Airways’ summer schedule just for the month of April.
For the summer schedule, Jet has been cleared to operate flights on routes such as Delhi-Amritsar, Delhi-Pune, Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Mumbai-Bengaluru and international routes such as Mumbai-Singapore, Mumbai-Bangkok, Mumbai-Amsterdam, Mumbai-Paris, Delhi-Singapore, Delhi-London, Delhi-Kathmandu among others.
Last Monday, Jet’s founder Naresh Goyal stepped down from the airline’s board as chairman enabling the lenders to extend a lifeline of Rs 1,500 crore of funding support and initiate a bidding process to rope in a new investor to run the airline.
The process is expected to be completed in the June quarter. Jet’s board had also approved, subject to and upon receipt of the relevant approvals and compliance of the applicable laws, issue of 11.4 crore equity shares of the airline to the lenders upon conversion of the outstanding debt.