Jet Airways Will Have To Reapply For Slots After Resolution Plan Approval

Jet Airways - aviatorsbuzz

At Wednesday’s hearing of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on the Jet Airways revival matter, the government assured that the airline will have to reapply for flying slots after the resolution plan gets approved by the insolvency tribunal.

The airline which ceased operations in March 2019 had 700 pair slots back then.

Counsel Shyam Mehta representing Ministry of Civil Aviation and DGCA however didn’t comment on whether Jet Airways will receive the slots that it once enjoyed but said once the new owner, the Kalrock-Jalan consortium, applies for the new slots at the appropriate time, the government will consider the same.

The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) also did not submit its affidavit with its say on the  slots. Officials indicated that it was expected to submit its views soon. The next hearing is scheduled for March 9.

During the previous hearing of the resolution plan submitted by the consortium of London-based asset management firm Kalrock Capital and entrepreneur Murari Lal Jalan, DGCA sought more time to reply to the notice issued in January for the air slots. The two-judge bench of Mohammed Ajmal and V Nallasenapathy granted the request allowing time till March 2. The aviation safety regulator will now file its affidavit by March 8.

In September 2020, DGCA and the Ministry of Civil Aviation had said the slots were temporarily allotted to other airlines.

A consortium, led by the Dubai-based entrepreneur Murari Lal Jalan as well as London-based Kalrock Capital on December 7, announced a revival plan for the airline.

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A file photo of a Jet Airways aircraft and crew. Source: NDTV

“The Jet 2.0 program is aimed at reviving the past glory of the airline, with a fresh set of processes and systems to ensure greater efficiency and productivity across all routes,” the consortium said in a statement. Operations halted in April 2019 due to bankruptcy amid a weight of heavy debt.

Jet Plans to Operate Historic Slots

In the past, the airline said it plans to operate all its historic domestic slots across the country and also resume international flight operations once it receives approvals from the regulators and the National Company Law Tribunal.

As per plans, Jalan-Kalrock consortium will inspect the Boeing 777 aircraft parked at Mumbai airport once the NCLT clearance comes. “We are not sure what is the situation with the existing aircraft. At the moment, we are planning to start with the new aircraft. If the existing aircraft can be used, we definitely would like to use it in the later stage,” Mr. Jalan had said.

On the issue of slots, Mr. Jalan said that he expected Jet Airways to get the slot it needed upon restarting of operations under a new management for which they were on the look out for professionals to run the carrier.

The consortium, Mr. Jalan had said already fulfilled whatever commitment had been given as per their resolution plan. “The fund that was required until now and whatever is required to start the airlines is ready. We are not looking at anything immediately but as the business grows, we are expecting a lot of cash flow to come. Also, we can go to the market whenever it is required. Nothing is ruled out,” he had said.

Meanwhile, moneycontrol reported that the emphasis will be to control costs and generate cash flow at the earliest. “The priority thus is to first start off with cargo operations, given that demand for freight, especially with India emerging as the vaccine hub, continuing to be robust,” the report said quoting a senior executive from the industry, in the know of things.

While the winning consortium had talked about focusing on smaller routes, instead of the metro ones,  the strategy has now been reinforced. “Cities like Ahmedabad have just taken off.  While this doesn’t mean that Jet 2.0 will not fly between metro routes like Delhi-Mumbai, it doesn’t want to be in cut-throat competition. Thus the emphasis on non-metro routes,” an airline executive aware of Jalan-Kalrock plans was quoted by the report as saying.

 

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