Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday ordered a review into matters related to debt-ridden airline Jet Airways. On Thursday, the airline cancelled all its west-bound international flights from India until Friday evening, reports said. The airline cited operational issues as the reason for the cancellations.
Prabhu said he had ordered Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola to do the needful. “Asked him [Kharola] to take necessary steps to minimise passenger inconvenience and ensure their safety,” the minister tweeted.
The firm also cancelled domestic flights between Mumbai and Kolkata and Kolkata and Guwahati for Friday citing the same reasons and said that refunds are being processed.
Earlier on Thursday, the airline told the exchanges that it had grounded 10 more aircraft. Jet Airways will operate only nine planes — two Boeing 737s and seven regional Jet ATRs — on Friday. “Jet Airways is operating only nine planes on Friday,” an unidentified official told Firstpost.
Jet Airways which is facing a severe cash crunch, has grounded several aircraft in its fleet of 119 in recent months. Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said last week that only 26 aircraft are operational while Jet Airways last month said it is currently flying 35 planes.
Singh had told PTI that the Civil Aviation Ministry was awaiting a report from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to determine if the airline can continue to operate on international routes. Indian government rules mandate a minimum of 20 operating planes for the airline to fly on international routes. Officials, however, told the news agency that the firm had only 14 aircraft in operation on Thursday evening.
Jet Airways closed reservations for Chennai-Paris, Delhi-Amsterdam-Toronto, Delhi-Kathmandu, Delhi-Singapore, Mumbai-Colombo, Mumbai-Paris and Mumbai-Singapore, till April 12, The Hindu reported.
Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Wednesday announced that it had de-registered seven Jet Airways Boeing 737-800 aircraft, reported PTI.
In March, Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal resigned from the board of directors of the company. The company had said that an interim panel would be set up to handle its affairs, and added that lenders have promised an immediate infusion of Rs 1,500 crore in the airline.
According to reports, Jet Airways’s debts amount to Rs 8,000 crore or more. The airline has not confirmed the debt amount but has said it owes money to banks, pilots and suppliers.