Etihad Airways submits bid for Jet Airways

Mae Love
April 12, 2019

Yesterday Business Traveller reported that the airline had suspended flights to Singapore, and local media reports suggest this has been followed by the suspension of all worldwide services, including London. The airline had 14 operational aircraft on Thursday - 7 wide body (six Boeing 777 and one Airbus A330) and 7 Boeing 737s and turboprop ATRs. "Jet Airways sincerely regrets inconvenience caused to its guests", it added. The airline was awarded routes such as Delhi-Bareilly, Delhi-Nashik, Indore-Hyderabad, Nagpur-Allahabad, Lucknow-Allahabad, Patna-Allahabad among various others but the airline's liquidity problems have forced it to operate on a skeletal schedule.

Speculation is rife that Goyal is also likely to join hands with a foreign carrier to submit initial bids for a stake in the airline he founded.

It owes various lenders 8,000 crore rupees (S$1.6 billion).

Singapore flights of Jet Airways have also been indefinitely suspended amid the ongoing cash crunch and lack of money to pay dues to the aircraft lessors, Singapore's Changi Airport said in a tweet.

In a separate statement, Jet said a flight from Mumbai to Kolkata, from Kolkata to Guwahati and from Dehradun to Kolkata via Guwahati have been cancelled. Over 30 flights flying out of Bengaluru on April 12 and 13 have been cancelled.

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Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday directed civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola to review issues concerning Jet Airways, which has been operating with less than 10 planes. Indian government rules mandate a minimum of 20 operating planes for the airline to fly on worldwide routes.

Of the 14 aircraft that it is operating as of Thursday, eight are wide-body B777s (seven) and an A330- generally used for long-haul worldwide operations.

With less than 24 hours left for the April 12 deadline for submission of EOIs to end, sources have also told CNBC-TV18 that Naresh Goyal may also throw his hat in the ring and could submit a bid with another partner.

State-run banks have taken a temporary stake in the airline to keep it running, with lenders laying out terms for potential bidders for the carrier. The Abu-Dhabi based airline is looking to increase its stake to 49 per cent.

According to reports, Jet Airways also cancelled long-haul West-bound worldwide departures from Thursday night to Friday morning.

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