On April 17, 2019, cash-strapped Jet Airways, once a pioneer of India’s private aviation industry, announced that it was temporarily shutting down its operations after it failed to secure emergency funding from any source, including lenders. The carrier was forced to suspend both domestic as well as international flights.
The economic reforms under the PV Narasimha Rao-led Congress government in the early 1990s opened various avenues for private entities and it marked the entry of Jet into the aviation sector. Led by Naresh Goyal, Jet Airways was one of the first few private players in the sector and had its maiden flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad in 1993. At its peak, considered one of the premium air carriers, the airline operated 650 flights a day.
But what led to the grounding of one of the path-breaking carriers in the private aviation sector?
Jet’s story is pretty similar to that of Kingfisher Airlines when it comes to how it crumbled and struggled to keep itself afloat. A week before the temporary shutdown of the carrier, an industry executive, who was then associated with Jet, told Reuters that the problems began after the airline embarked on an aggressive international expansion plan.