Lenders explore ways to utilise 15 Jet Airways planes, protect valuable assets; proposals under consideration


New Delhi: Lenders are exploring methods to utilise about 15 planes owned by Jet Airways and likewise discussing with authorities on defending the dear belongings, together with airport slots, of the now-shuttered airline, banking sources mentioned.

As they watch for completion of the bidding course of for stake sale, the home lenders, led by SBI, are choices to boost funds from obtainable belongings of the service, which has served the Indian skies for almost 26 years.

Left with no money to proceed flying, the once-mighty Jet Airways on Wednesday suspended operations briefly — a call that has additionally left greater than 20,000 workers in addition to varied different stakeholders within the lurch.

Representational picture. Reuters

The sources mentioned the lenders are actively contemplating proposals, together with from Air India, for utilising the planes owned by Jet Airways. The use of those idle planes would make sure that they continue to be in good situation in addition to earn revenues, they added.

Jet Airways owns 16 plane, together with 10 wide-body Boeing 777-300 ERs, remainder of the planes have been on lease. The full-service service had greater than 120 planes in its fleet final 12 months.

Earlier this week, Air India chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani wrote to SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar saying that the airline is leasing 5 of Jet Airways’ Boeing 777s and function them on London, Dubai and Singapore routes.

As issues mount over the long run course of Jet Airways, the sources mentioned lenders have been proactive and can’t be blamed for the present state of affairs on the airways.

“They (lenders) have been actively engaging with the company for almost nine months ever since the airlines started incurring cash losses and have been urging the management to come forward with a definite plan for resolution,” mentioned a supply.

“Unfortunately, the management and the promoter delayed in taking a decision leading to the present situation. The lenders continued to support the airline during this period,” one of many sources mentioned.

The choice of founder-promoter Naresh Goyal to step down got here as late as 25 March and he signed a binding settlement to facilitate stake sale solely within the second week of April. By then, the airline’s operations had been severely affected, the supply added.

The supply additionally mentioned that banks have now put in place a clear bidding course of for a brand new investor to take over the airline and the result could be recognized by 10 May.

According to the sources, lenders have additionally reached out to related authorities to guard invaluable belongings for the airline, corresponding to airport slots, as it might enhance the probabilities of a greater revival. The finest revival prospect could be to have a brand new investor who brings in adequate money and likewise has a particular plan going ahead, they added.

It can be learnt that whereas the promoter has stepped down and entered right into a binding settlement, there was no change in complexion of the board of the airline as a result of technical causes.

“The conversion of debt into equity was conceived as a way to allow a new investor to come in. Also, while the lenders have nominated AK Purwar and Kapil Kaul to the board of Jet Airways consequent upon stepping down of the promoters, this is yet to take effect on account of some technical reasons,” one other supply mentioned.

The banks have been working with the identical government administration crew who’ve been in command of working the corporate even after stepping down of the promoter, the supply added.

On Thursday, lenders mentioned they have been “reasonably hopeful” that the bidding course of for the airline will finish efficiently.

“The lenders after due deliberations decided that the best way forward for the survival of Jet Airways is to get the binding bids from potential investors who have expressed EoI (Expression of Interest) and have been issued bid documents on 16 April,” they’d mentioned in an announcement.

A consortium of seven home lenders led by State Bank of India (SBI), has invited bids from potential suitors. Their debt publicity to the airline is greater than Rs 8,500 crore.

“Lenders are reasonably hopeful that the bid process is likely to be successful in determining the fair value of the enterprise in a transparent manner,” it mentioned.

Banks had rejected emergency funding request of Jet Airways that pressured it to floor operations.

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