The Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Tuesday said only 41 aircraft of debt-ridden private carrier Jet Airways are currently available for operations, PTI reported. The aviation safety regulator said the number may further reduce in the coming weeks. The airline has 119 aircraft.
The DGCA made the statement after holding an emergency meeting with the management of the airline. The meeting comes in the wake of the airline reducing its operations due to a liquidity crunch. Jet Airways has posted losses of over Rs 1,000 crore for three consecutive quarters since March 2018. The carrier defaulted on loan repayments to banks on December 31.
“DGCA reviewed the performance of Jet Airways on Operational, Airworthiness & Passenger facilitation,” the regulator said in a statement, according to The Indian Express. “Current availability of aircraft in the fleet for operation is 41 and accordingly scheduled for 603 domestic flights and 382 international flights has been drawn. However, it is a dynamic situation and there may be further attrition in coming weeks.”
Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu asked the DGCA to take stock of grounding of planes, advance bookings, cancellations, refunds and safety matters of Jet Airways, a government press release said.
The DGCA said it is monitoring the overall situation and, if needed, will take appropriate action by the end of March. It asked the airline to give passengers timely communication, compensation, and refunds, the Hindustan Times reported.
Meanwhile, the Jet Airways’ domestic pilots body National Aviators Guild on Tuesday threatened to stop flying from April 1, if there is no clarity on salary payments and resolution process by the end of this month, PTI reported. The guild represents around 1,000 domestic pilots at the airline.
The aviation watchdog is also reviewing the hike in airfare on specific routes across the country and has advised airlines to increase flights to keep fares in check, PTI quoted a senior unidentified official as saying.
“We have not issued any diktat to the airlines,” said the official. “We have just advised them that they should increase their capacity to keep airfares in check.”
Jet Airways chairperson Naresh Goyal said it is charting out a bailout plan, led by state-run banks and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways. State Bank of India is Jet Airways’ biggest lender, and is leading the efforts to evolve a comprehensive plan to revive the airline.
In January, Goyal offered to invest Rs 700 crore in the struggling airline and offered to sell his shares as long as his stake does not fall below 25%. Goyal holds 51% stake in the private carrier.