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Issues concerning Jet Airways

Receiving a series of awards, Jet Airways were once providing the high quality service and incredible experience for its passengers. Owning to its financial crisis, Jet Airways stopped its operations on April 17, 2019. Will it fly again and revive its past glory? Well, the Jet 2.0 program aims at restarting the grounded airways and to ensure its efficiency and productivity.

History
Jet Airways (India) Limited was incorporated under the Companies Act in 1st April 1992 as a private limited liability company with its registered office at Siroya Centre, Andheri (E), Mumbai, Maharashtra. The airline started its operation in 1993 as an air taxi operator. By 1995 they started their full operation and were granted a scheduled airline status.

In 1996, airline ordered for four 737-400 and six 737-800 aircraft from Boeing. In 1999, airline for expanding further announced an order for ten Boeing 737-800 aircraft. And by 2001, they had grown to 30 aircraft. In the year 2003, the Indian government gave them the authorization to launch international routes. The first one flew from Chennai to Colombo.

On 28th December 2004, it became a public company and got listed on Indian exchanges. In 2005, the airline started its first international long haul flight to London with two-class Airbus A340-300s. It acquired Air Sahara in 2007 and renamed as JetLite. In 2008 it entered into alliance with Kingfishers Airlines. On May 2009, it started another low-cost carrier, Jet Konnect. They sold off 24% of their firm to Etihad when Indian government allowed foreign airlines to buy Indian local carriers up to 49%. With 22.5% market share of air traffic, Jet Airways became India’s largest airline in 2010.

By the arrival of SpiceJet and IndiGo, then glorious Jet Airways were forced to reduce the ticket price. This marked the beginning of the end for Jet Airways. To stay competitive with the newcomers, they took more loans. As of February 2016, it is the second largest airline in India with 21.2% passenger market share.

By November 2018, they faced huge losses and owe money to aircraft leasing firms, various lending institutions etc. On 25th March 2019, Mr. Naresh Goyal and his wife stepped down from the board of directors. Unable to manage their financial crisis, quarter of their fleet were grounded. On April 5th 2019, Jet Airways’ fuel supplier, Indian Oil Corporation refused to refuel their planes until they had been paid.

Leaving no choice, India’s Jet Airways temporarily suspended all its flights and last flight S2-3502 took off from Amritsar on April 17, 2019 at 10:30 PM. And they said they are unable to pay for fuel and other critical services due to lenders rejecting emergency funding. Its membership in IATA was suspended.

Before NCLT
On 17th June, lenders decided to refer the company to National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for bankruptcy proceedings. On 20th June 2019, the petition under section 7 of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code,2016 filed by State Bank of India (Financial creditor/ Petitioner) against Jet Airways (India) Limited (Corporate Debtor) [ CP 2205(IB)/MB/2019] , for initiating corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) was admitted and also declared moratorium under section 14 of I & B Code. The two other petitions [CP 1968/2019 and CP 1938/2019] filed under section 9 of I&B was dismissed and held that the petitioners in these company petition are at liberty to file their claim before the resolution professional appointed in CP 2205/2019.

Grand Thornton and SBI Capital Markets have been appointed as professional advisors and process advisors respectively. Mr. Ashish Chhawchharia( National head of restructuring practice for Grant Thornton) has been appointed to take forward the CIRP process. The powers of the board of directors of the company were suspended and were vested with resolution professional.

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal ( NCLAT ) allowed the Dutch Administrator of Jet Airways to participate in the committee of creditors(CoC) meetings. This was against the order of NCLT Mumbai Bench which declared overseas bankruptcy proceedings as null and void. Jet Airways became the first Indian company to face cross border insolvency protocol along with Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code of India.

In July 2019, the first progress report on the case was filed by insolvency resolution professionals. On 20th July 2019, Company Information Teaser was published which highlighted the strength of Jet Airways and its brand strength. It showed the possibilities that a buyer would come. The resolution professional floated EoIs ( Expression of Interest) for selling the stake in the airline. The invitation for EoI was published in accordance with regulation 36A of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Insolvency Resolution Process for Corporate Persons) Regulations, 2016.

The revival plans submitted by a consortium led by the Dubai based businessman Murari Lal Jalan as well as London based Asset Management Company Kalrock Capital was approved by the committee of creditors (CoC) for the bankrupt Jet Airways. The e-voting was concluded on October 17,2020 and the resolution plan submitted by the consortium was approved under section 30(4) of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. The revival plan was then submitted to NCLT, Mumbai for approval in accordance with section 30(6) of the code.

Slot Issue
The tribunal then issued a notice to Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) to clear their stance on Airport slots. The aviation regulator DGCA and MoCA said that the slots were allocated temporarily to other airlines when the carrier stopped its service in April, 2019.

They informed NCLT in March 2020 that the consortium will have to apply afresh for the slots and they refused to give assurance on slot issue. The National Company Law Tribunal granted more time to respond on the slot issue. Now the main issue for delay is the clarity regarding Jet Airways slots.

Currently the winning bid for Jet Airways is before Mumbai NCLT bench for approval. The NCLT bench is now hearing on the slot issue. The Civil Aviation Ministry, regulation DGCA and winning bidder is expecting that the issue will be resolved soon. The consortium is planning to start the airways with 25 aircrafts and scale up to 125 aircraft in 5 years.

As on 15/07/2019, the fleet size reduced to 12 aircrafts i.e. 6 Boeing 777, 3 Airbus 330 and 3 Boeing 737. Out of 6 Boeing 777, one aircraft is seized at Amsterdam Airport. Murari Lal Jalan , the lead member of consortium said that they got an excellent opportunity in this pandemic situation. Their liability and cost are going to be minimal. If they get clearance from NCLT, they will pass the main obstacle and Jet Airways will soar again in the sky.

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