Mumbai, Apr 5: Even as Jet Airways flight operations went further downhill, lenders to the beleaguered airline said that they would explore other options if the stake sale efforts do not result in an acceptable outcome. Lenders, led by SBI, have invited bids between April 6 and April 9.
The statement from the lenders, however, was silent on whether additional funds were forthcoming. Jet has promised key employees, including pilots, an update on clearing salary dues of January-March next Tuesday. The pilots’ union has warned of going on strike from April 15 unless “substantial” dues are cleared and a roadmap is given for the rest. Aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said on Thursday that Jet has 26 operating planes and can fly on international routes as long as it complies with the 0/20 rule. Under this rule, an airline must have 20 planes to go abroad. He added that the airline reiterated on that it will fly 75 aircraft by the end of
April. The airline originally had a fleet of 119 planes.
“The lenders are cognisant that the outcome of the efforts of the lenders will depend on the interest shown by the parties on sale of stake in the company,” a statement issued by SBI on behalf of the lenders said. “Whilst all efforts will be made for the stake sale by the lenders, other options may be considered by the lenders should these efforts not result in an acceptable outcome,” it said.
Lenders were expected to clear an emergency financing package to ensure that Jet continues operations. While lenders did hold a meeting in Delhi, chaired by Rajnish Kumar, they did not announce any financing package.
Under the bank-led resolution plan approved by the Jet board on March 25, banks were to hold 50.1% stake in the airline and were to infuse Rs 1,500 crore funds.