Jet Airways flying again by year end

Mumbai, Jun 22 (FN Agency) Describing the NCLT nod for resolution plan of Jet Airways as one of the biggest turnaround events for the beleaguered aviation sector, the airline’s Resolution Professional Ashish Chhawchharia on Tuesday hoped that the carrier will be back in the skies by the end of this year provided everything goes well. After being shuttered for more than two years, Jet Airways is expected to see a revival with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approving the resolution plan of a consortium of UK’s Kalrock Capital and UAE-based entrepreneur Murari Lal Jalan. Chhawchharia is managing the affairs of the grounded Jet Airways since the resolution process started under the insolvency law in June 2019.

‘We are delighted with the go-ahead to the plan. Certainly, we are quite hopeful of the airline’s revival. And if all go well, we hope that by the end of this year, we can see some Jet Airways flights in the skies again,’ Chhawchharia told. Though it is difficult to say by when the issues of slots will be resolved, he said he was hopeful since the effective date for implementation of the plan is 90 days from the date of approval. ‘Everyone will work towards that (resolution of the slot issue as well),’ he noted. In a separate statement, Chhawchharia said NCLT approval will pave the way for the revival of Jet Airways 2.0 even as there are a few concerns related to the availability of routes/slots for the airlines to fly again. Chhawchharia is a Partner at Grant Thornton Bharat LLP said on Tuesday.

Noting that the developments are one of the biggest turnaround events for the beleaguered aviation sector, Chhawchharia in the statement said that ‘we will now work together with the Jalan-Kalrock consortium to facilitate a smooth implementation of the plan in the coming weeks’. The NCLT Mumbai bench, chaired by Mohammed Ajmal and V Nallasenapathy, has approved the resolution plan for Jet Airways that will have to be implemented in 90 days starting from June 22. ‘Our hard work over the last two years has paid off and today’s order will pave the way for the revival of Jet Airways’ 2.0… We are grateful to the NCLT for this favourable order,’ Chhawchhria added. While acknowledging that there are a ‘few concerns’ related to the availability of routes/slots for the airlines to fly again, he said none of them is unsurmountable. ‘I am confident that the DGCA and Ministry of Civil Aviation will duly take into account all issues and give a fair consideration to the business proposal for Jet’s revival’.

On preliminary analysis, Chhawchharia said that apart from airports such as Delhi and Mumbai, it appears that other airports have sufficient slots whereas some are likely to expand their capacity. Noting that the airline has been a national icon and flyers have been eagerly waiting to see it in the skies again, Chhawchharia said a successful resolution will add value to customers, improve the competitive landscape and create jobs across the value chain. ‘Over the course of the resolution process, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the DGCA and the airport authorities have been incredibly cooperative, and we are confident that they will continue to support us in helping the airline fly again,’ he noted. Chhawchharia also thanked the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Board of India and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs for their guidance in resolving several complex issues arising during the process. In a filing, Chhawchharia informed stock exchanges that NCLT has approved the resolution plan.

Disclosures regarding detailed financial proposal and treatment of shareholders of the company under the resolution plan will be made following receipt of NCLT’s written order, the filing added. The resolution plan was approved by the airline’s Committee of Creditors (CoC) in October 2020. In an oral order on Tuesday, the NCLT bench said that if a further extension of the effective date is required, the resolution applicant (Jalan Kalrock Consortium) can approach the tribunal again. On the historicity of slot allocations for Jet Airways, the tribunal said it was not giving a direction and the issue will be handled by the government or the appropriate authority.