The tussle over the historical slots of Jet Airways between the Kalrock-Jalan consortium and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation came to the fore at the debt resolution hearing at the NCLT on Thursday, with both sides hardening their position.
While lawyers representing the consortium said that their offer to acquire the beleaguered airline will be meaningless without the slots, DGCA opposed restoring all slots operated by Jet Airways before it was grounded.
Landing slots are an important intangible asset for an airline, and it often costs a lot of money to grab a premium slot. Jet Airways had one of the most premium slots available at metro city airports in the country.
Post its temporary grounding in April 2019, Jet’s slots were allotted to other players.
Senior counsel Ravi Kadam, who appeared on behalf of the winning bidders-a consortium of Murari Lal Jalan and Kalrock Capital, appraised that “State Bank of India, the lead lender of Jet Airways, had written to the Ministry of Civil Aviation on April 12, 2019, requesting the protection of the rights of Jet Airways’ slots.
Jet grounded its operations on April 17 that year, in the same month, MoCA Joint Secretary responded stating that the slots were allotted only on a temporary basis, and not on the basis of historicity”.