Even as Covid-19 has devastated the aviation industry globally, a resolution plan submitted by a consortium of London-based asset management company Kalrock Capital and UAE-based entrepreneur Murari Lal Jalan to bid for Jet Airways has won the approval of creditors including major public sector banks.
The consortium will invest $136 million in a phased manner over the next five years. The debt-laden airline shut operations last year in April.
Ashish Chhawchharia, national head of restructuring services for Grant Thornton, said the airline will fly in four to six months. Challenges remain, as the investors will need to infuse cash for operations and fleet buys even as some conditions, including slots, hangar space at airports, and renegotiation of contracts, require rework.
Rohit Tomar, managing partner at Mumbai-based Caladrius Aero Consulting, told AIN that Jet likely would start with freighter operations to Europe and the U.S. using its widebody aircraft by early next year.
“Jet could either fly ten to fifteen 737 Maxes by the next two and a half years or opt for smaller ATR 72-600s and fly them on lucrative regional domestic routes from Tier 2 and 3 towns to metros,” he explained. “Low passenger numbers have resulted in low fares on traditional metro to metro routes like Delhi-Mumbai.”
However, Mumbai-based Vman Aero Services CEO Vishok Mansingh said ATRs would create complexity in fleet types. Meanwhile, grounded aircraft will require maintenance and mechanics and pilots will need to gain certification currency.
Jet has progressively shed most of its 123 aircraft. Its inventory now includes six owned Boeing 777s, three Airbus A330s, and three aging Boeing 737s. In a mid-2018 regulatory filing, Jet Airways had said its orders for the Boeing 737 Max totaled 225, deliverable over ten years.
OEMs maintain a particular interest in keeping Jet alive. For instance, Jet owes $60 million to GE Aviation for engine support.