Struggling to cope with debts of US$1 billion, India’s jet Airways is struggling to remain operational with only 41 aircraft available, one-third of its fleet of it original fleet, forcing to to cancel hundreds of flights, many at the mast minute. While many of its aircraft lessors have begun to cancel leasing agreements, the stricken carrier is faced with further problems as the pilots’ union has threaten to begin strike action on April 1. Many pilots have no been paid for some time and this strike action will only be averted if the carrier can come up by putting a rescue plan in place by March 31, along with provision for paying overdue salaries and having a clear roadmap.
With payments having been delayed to banks, suppliers, lessors and pilots, India’s Civil Aviation Minister, Suresh Prabhu, asked his officials to call for a meeting to discuss grounding of flights, advance bookings, cancellations, refunds, and any potential safety issues, at the cash-strapped carrier.
According to Reuters, the 25-year-old airline is discussing the situation with its lenders – state-run banks led by State Bank of India (SBI) – and Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad, which is its biggest shareholder, to secure a rescue deal which has so far proved problematic. There has been behind-the-scenes support from the government which points to the fact that a bailout is likely, with the government asking state-run banks to rescue the privately held airline as opposed to pushing it into bankruptcy,Email Post to a Friend