Path to restart Jet operations very robust, unsure, says skilled

Mumbai, October 18

The path to recommence operations of the grounded Jet Airways is very tough and uncertain despite the committee of creditors (CoC) approval of the airline’s revival plan submitted by the Kalrock Capital-Murari Lal Jalan consortium, aviation advisory and research practice CAPA India head Kapil Kaul has said.

The plan was approved after the conclusion of the e-voting on the proposal, Jet Airways RP (resolution professional) Ashish Chhawchharia had informed the BSE on Saturday.

After failing to get funds even for daily operations, the then cash-strapped airline announced temporary suspension of services on April 17 last year and the last flight S2-3502 that took off from Amritsar at around 10:30 pm touched down at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 12:22 am on April 18.

Subsequently, the carrier went into administration in June 2019. The CoC has met 16 times since then, extending the deadline for submission of bids one after another. The initial deadline for receipt of EoIs was August 3, 2019.

“Path to restart operations is very tough and uncertain,” Kaul told PTI without elaborating.

He also said that the “terms” accepted by the Jet Airways creditors did not make sense to CAPA.

At the peak of its operations, Jet Airways had little over 120 planes. When the operations came to a halt due to mounting debt woes and unpaid salaries, the airline had around 16 own planes.

The plan will now be submitted to the NCLT for its final approval. If the court allows, Florian Fritsch and Murari Lal Jalan would have the task of taking the airline off the ground again at a time when the aviation industry globally is in financial distress due to the pandemic.

The grounded airline had received bids from two consortiums, one comprising UK-based Kalrock Capital founded by Florian Fritsch and UAE-based entrepreneur Murari Lal Jalan.

The other bid was submitted by the consortium consisting of Haryana-based Flight Simulation Technique Centre, Big Charter of Mumbai and Abu Dhabi’s Imperial Capital Investments LLC.

Airline revenues plunged 80 per cent in the first six months of the year, according to industry despite pruning costs just over 50 per cent during the second quarter, compared to the year-ago period.

Jet Airways saw its losses widening to Rs 5,535.75 crore in the year ended March 2019, mainly due to surge in expenses, as against a loss of Rs 766.13 crore in 2017-18. These figures are for standalone comprehensive losses.

Kalrock Partners provides a combination of investment and advisory services in financial, marketing, managerial and legal matters to all its partners while Jalan has investments in diversified business such as real estate, mining, trading, construction, fast-moving consumer goods, dairy, travel & tourism and industrial works globally. PTI

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