Rebirth pains for Jet Airways
Cruising Heights|April - May 2021
Will Jet Airways take to the skies again? The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) has provided some hope for the carrier but a whole lot of issues remain to be sorted out before it takes the first flight, writes AMEYA JOSHI?
AMEYA JOSHI

The one question that is uppermost on the minds of Indian aviation stakeholders is: When and how will Jet Airways make a comeback and, if at all, will it? While airlines have gone down at regular intervals, Jet Airways was a symbolic one because it was the oldest private carrier in India which was operating until April 2019. While hope faded for others, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) mechanism has put some hope in place. But it is a path filled with thorns. As it stands today, the case is pending in the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). With multiple suitors at the forefront, the process ended up shortlisting two bidders: the existing Kalrock capital of the Murari Lal Jalan consortium and another consortium led by Capt. Mandavia who has gone ahead and started an airline, Flybig.

The resolution professional under the IBC arrangement seems to have done wonders to an asset which otherwise had no value. Without planes, slots, and with limited manpower, there isn't much that an airline can achieve or do. The creditors led by State Bank of India (SBI) voted in favour of Kalrock Capital - Murari Lal Jalan Consortium with a haircut as large as 90 per cent. The initial thought for anyone was: How did everyone agree to such a large haircut? But for the lenders it was a case of being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Either they would lose out on all the money and be called for messing up with the interests of the employees and other lenders or give it a shot and see what can be recovered. Everybody chose the second option.

Kalrock Capital - Murari Lal Jalan have stuck one or the other hurdle from the word go. The airline cannot go international since it will not meet the criteria of 20 aircraft in its fleet when it begins operations. The consortium wants to put in funds in the company to ensure it takes off and is in talks with Boeing to streamline the order of B737 MAX aircraft which Jet Airways had placed.

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