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India’s Jet Airways Ready for Second Act, Investors Say

Peden Doma Bhatia
March 31st, 2022 at 11:47 AM EDT
Jet Airways landing

Photo credit: Jet Airways landing Wikimedia Commons / Aero Icarus

The wait for India’s Jet Airways to hit the runway might get a little longer. But the new promoters of the airline maintain the restart activities are “progressing well.”

While the Jalan-Kalrock Consortium, which won the right to restructure Jet Airways, makes a statement almost every quarter on resuming operations, the progress so far hasn’t been encouraging. However, Akasa, the other airline set to launch in India, has already announced it would be launching its first commercial flight in the month of June.

Jet Airways went bust in 2019 and was revived after its new promoters — a consortium of entrepreneur Murari Lal Jalan and serial entrepreneur Florian Fritsch-backed Kalrock Capital — infused cash into it.

Dubbing the process of restarting an airline “a complex exercise that must be done meticulously, in coordination with the regulatory authorities,” the consortium in its statement this month said that the process is underway. “The timeline reflects the typical duration of an air operators certificate process. However, we fully expect to have the proving flight and air operator’s certificate well in advance of the filed timelines.”

The airline has said that it is working closely with India’s civil aviation ministry and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on the approval process and timelines for proving flight, following which Jet Airways’ air operators certificate (AOC) will be revalidated. “The resumption of scheduled services will follow soon thereafter,” the airline said in a statement this month.

However, what’s interesting is that the consortium clarified last December that the revalidation process had been initiated in August 2021 and was on a fast track. Jet had an existing AOC valid until 2023, which was only suspended in 2019 due to the financial health of the company then.

The consortium at that point had said that the time required for getting its AOC revalidated would be substantially less difficult than obtaining a fresh AOC by a new company.

The delay, according to reports, was because the airline had earlier requested for a waiver of the certification process to get its AOC back. India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation rejected the request. As a result, Jet will now have to operate proving flights with the aircraft with which they plan to restart services.

Reiterating its commitment towards the revival of Jet Airways, the consortium in a statement noted that it is working with multiple aircraft lessors as well as aircraft manufacturers to source aircraft that will be inducted into the Jet Airways fleet over the next three to five years.

The airline this month also announced two major appointments. Sanjiv Kapoor, Vistara’s former chief strategy and commercial officer, will be taking over as the CEO of Jet 2.0 from April, while Vipula Gunatilleka, who had served as the CEO of SriLankan Airlines till January 2022, took over as the chief financial officer this month.

Jalan had earlier said they are aiming to resume domestic operations at the earliest in 2022 as a full-service carrier. The airline plans to start flights with six narrowbody aircraft and aims to have more than 50 aircraft in its fleet fleet in three years, and more than 100 in its five-year plan.

The consortium had also clarified that it is confident to get the initial slots required to begin operations in the summer schedule of 2022.  


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