Long-grounded Jet Airways could soon take to the skies again, with The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approving the Kalrock-Jalan consortium’s resolution plan. The NCLT’s Mumbai bench has ordered the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to assign the airline slots within 90 days. The DGCA requested extra time from the tribunal in February to clarify their position on Jet’s slots.
For the past two years, Jet Airways, India’s once-largest private airline, has been undergoing a resolution procedure under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). The bankruptcy suit filed by the lenders’ consortium led by the State Bank of India against Jet Airways was admitted by the NCLT in June 2019. A specialised freighter service and hubs in minor towns outside of Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru were also part of the restoration strategy. “If all goes well, we should be able to fly again by the end of this year,” said Ashish Chhawchharia, the court-appointed professional overseeing Jet Airways’ insolvency.
A seven-member monitoring committee will soon begin to manage the day-to-day affairs of Jet Airways till the resolution process for the airline is completed, the airline said in a regulatory filing. However, a slot crunch might derail the new entity’s flight plans, with the NCLT claiming it cannot claim historicity of slots and that any decision on the much coveted slots will have to be made as per the status quo. Additionally, the new investors will have to renegotiate contracts with various vendors including fuel retailers, aircraft lessors, caterers, etc, that will be crucial for flight operations. The runway to recovery for Jet Airways might yet be bumpy.