In the first quarter of 2022, the airline is expected to be back in action after it stopped operations in 2019
The aviation landscape in India is getting more and more colorful after the pandemic with multiple new changes happening. One of the major ones being the return of Jet Airways in the market. According to the Jalan Kalrock consortium, the successful resolution applicant of Jet Airways, the airline is positioned to recommence domestic operations in the first quarter of the calendar year 2022, after being grounded for more than two-and-ahalf years. Followed by the domestic operations, there are also plans to begin short-haul international operations by mid-2022, a statement by the consortium informed.
A bankruptcy court in Mumbai recently sanctioned the revival plan for the grounded carrier. The bankruptcy court’s approval came many months after Jet Airways’ creditors had given their approval in October last year to the resolution plan submitted by the consortium. A few months back in June this year, the National Company Law Tribunal’s (NCLT) Mumbai bench had given a goahead to the resolution plan tabled by the new owner, Kalrock Capital and Murari Lal Jalan consortium.
Jet was the biggest private carrier of the country. The carrier ceased operations in April 2019 after it faced grave financial hardship and was enduring a resolution process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) since. Prior to its unanticipated closure, Jet Airways had one of the most experienced workforces including pilots, engineers and cabin crew, in the industry, most of whom were suddenly left jobless. Yet many continued to stay attached to Jet. The airline operated a fleet of over 120 planes commuting across many domestic and international destinations. Now Jet Airways is again on the hiring process and is currently accepting applications. It has already hired over 150 full-time employees and is looking to onboard another 1,000 employees across categories in the financial year 2021-22.
The airline has to come back with a revamped strategy, not only because of the cash burnt that it encountered, and the two plus years gap that it has had, but also the pandemic. Post pandemic industry is different from what it was and the airline must strategise in compliance with the new normal. While there might be some initial hiccups as the industry is dealing with the after effects of the coronavirus, in route ahead for the Indian aviation industry, it promises to have bright sunny and clear skies. Jet’s revival, in the already booming Indian aviation industry, would be an interesting highlight.
“Apart from airports, such as Delhi and Mumbai, on preliminary analysis, it appears that other airports have sufficient slots whereas some are likely to expand their capacity,”
—Ashish Chhawchharia, Partner, Grant Thornton Bharat
Ashish Chhawchharia, Partner, Grant Thornton Bharat, who is the Resolution Professional for Jet Airways and led the whole process noted few concerns that remain related to the availability of routes/slots for the airlines to fly again, but underlined that none of it is unsurmountable. “I am confident that the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) and Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) will duly take into account all issues and give a fair consideration to the business proposal for Jet’s revival. Apart from airports, such as Delhi and Mumbai, on preliminary analysis, it appears that other airports have sufficient slots whereas some are likely to expand their capacity.”
Murari Lal Jalan, Lead Member of the Jalan Kalrock Consortium is the proposed Non-Executive Chairman of Jet Airways while Captain Sudhir Gaur, Accountable Manager, has been appointed as the acting CEO of the company. A seven-member monitoring committee, including members appointed by the Consortium and the lenders, is also expected to shortly begin with the management of the day-to-day affairs of the airline till the resolution process is complete.
Jet Airways has already hired over 150 full-time employees and is looking to onboard another 1,000 employees across categories in the financial year 2021-22
The revival plan for Jet Airways is being enabled as approved by NCLT and all the creditors will be settled as per the plan in the coming months. In the statement, the consortium also added that the process of reviving the grounded carrier is in process with the existing Air Operator Certificate (AOC) already under process for revalidation. “The consortium is working closely with the relevant authorities and airport coordinators on slot allocation, required airport infrastructure, and night parking,” it said. The domestic operations are to be started on an all narrow-body aircraft fleet leased from major global aircraft lessors who have approached Jet. The airline is aiming to have a fleet of over 100 aircraft in the next five years.
Talking about the next steps and what this means for flyers, Chhawchharia added, “We will now work together with the Jalan-Kalrock consortium to facilitate a smooth implementation of the plan in the coming weeks. The airline has been a national icon and flyers have been eagerly waiting to see it in the skies again. A successful resolution will add value to customers, improve the competitive landscape and create jobs across the value chain.”
Captain Gaur has visited key airports last month and held productive meetings. “Jet Airways will now be headquartered in Delhi NCR with its senior management working from the Corporate Office at Gurugram. Jet Airways will restart its operations with its first flight from New Delhi to Mumbai by Q12022. However, Jet Airways will continue to have a strong and significant presence in Mumbai where it will work from its ‘Global One’ office in Kurla. Jet Airways also has a training centre located at Global One, which will be retained and used for in-house training for the Jet Airways team,” he said.
Jet Airways, which remains grounded for over two years now, recently recorded a standalone net loss of 305.76 crore in the three months ended September. In the quarter under review, the company had a total income of 45.01 crore, according to a regulatory filing. The filing also noted that the airline had a profit of 152.41 crore in the 2020 September quarter on a total income of 172.61 crore.