Eighteen months after it was grounded, as it ran out of cash and banks refused to give it more money, Jet Airways, once India’s foremost private airline, could take to the skies again. With the airline’s lenders, led by State Bank of India (SBI), approving a plan put forward by a consortium of bidders led by London-based asset management company Kalrock Capital and UAE investor Murari Lal Jalan, the now-defunct airline could be given a second lease of life.
However, there are several hitches on the way. To bring to fruition what some are calling ‘Jet 2.0’, the second innings for the formerly Naresh Goyal-owned airline, the plan has to first pass muster at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). The NCLT will examine whether the plans are in line with the provisions of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (IBC). The consortium will first have to settle all the debt Jet Airways owes its creditors, and will then need to pump in fresh capital to support the airline’s operations. Jet Airways owes Rs 40,259 crore to its creditors as of September this year. As per reports in the media, the company has admitted claims worth Rs 15,525 crore. Financial creditors have claimed Rs 11,345 crore and operational creditors (including workmen and employees) have claimed Rs 27,719 crore. Other lenders have claimed Rs 1,117 crore.
According to media reports, other than the Kalrock-Jalan combine, another consortium that included Abu Dhabi-based Imperial Capital Investments, Haryana’s Flight Simulation Technique Centre and the Big Charter of Mumbai, had also recently launched a bid for the airline, which has been grounded since April 17, 2019 after lenders denied it emergency funds.