Jet Airways has in the last two months trimmed its fleet by 28 planes and will ground about a dozen more aircraft in March mainly due to non-payment of rentals, said two people in the know.
Eight ATR turboprop jets, a Boeing 737 Max recently included into the fleet, a Boeing 777 and an Airbus A330 plane, and at least seven Boeing 737 NG planes are among the 40 odd aircraft that have been, or are in the process of being taken off the fleet, one of them told ET. Earlier, Jet had a fleet of 123 planes, which means it will have cut its fleet by close to a third by April. It grounded some planes after notices from unpaid aircraft lessors, some for lack of spare parts, and the remaining have been returned to lessors.
A Jet Airways spokesperson disputed the number of planes being taken off its fleet. “Jet Airways clarifies that your information on the airline’s number of aircraft that stand withdrawn from operations as on date, due to various listed reasons, is incorrect,” the person told ET. Jet said it has been keeping the regulator, DGCA informed about the developments with regard to its fleet. “Consequently, the airline has undertaken certain proactive adjustments to its flight schedule and is keeping its guests informed of these interim changes, offering them alternate choices, including re-accommodation on the airline’s alternate flights, in line with applicable guidelines,” the spokesperson said.
“Jet Airways regrets the inconvenience caused to its guests.”
In a statement to the BSE, the airline said it has grounded seven more planes “due to non-payment of amounts outstanding to lessors under their respective lease agreements”.
It had in two earlier statements confirmed the grounding of six aircraft.
Jet Airways partner Etihad Airways’ CEO Tony Douglas on Wednesday met the Indian airline’s top lender State Bank of India to discuss the resolution plan which includes enhancing its share capital, making lenders the majority shareholders and then issuing fresh shares to be subscribe by existing shareholders.
Besides Douglas, the meeting was attended SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar and its MD in charge of corporate accounts Arijit Basu. It is likely that the top brass at SBI wanted a sense of how much equity Etihad is ready to infuse in the troubled airline.
Jet Airways domestic pilots body, National Aviators Guild (NAG), on Wednesday deferred its proposed agitation from next month in view of the developments on the nation’s Western borders.