National carrier Air India is considering leasing out five of Jet Airways’ Boeing 777 flights and operating them, PTI reported on Thursday. Jet Airways had announced on Wednesday that it was temporarily suspending all operations after its lenders failed to agree on funding.
It owns 10 wide-body Boeing 777-300 ER planes, and some Airbus A330s, which were used to fly to international destinations such as London, Amsterdam and Paris.
“We are exploring the possibility of operating five of the grounded B777s on the established routes, hitherto operated by Jet Airways,” Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani wrote to SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar.
Lohani’s letter added: “We, at Air India, are indeed saddened by the turn of affairs at Jet Airways, a scenario that is causing considerable inconvenience to the travelling public. In tune with Air India’s role and responsibilities as the national carrier, we would be happy to alleviate this inconvenience”, according to The Indian Express.
Air India also said that it had almost completed hiring 150 cabin crew members from Jet Airways and that it has offered special fares for some passengers on international routes.
Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court refused to intervene in the Jet Airways crisis, PTI reported. “We cannot ask the government to rescue a sick company,” the High Court said. “The only thing we can do is that if you get a hat, we can pass it around this court room for collecting money for charity.” The judges told the petitioner to approach the National Company Law Tribunal instead.
Jet Airways shares crashed at the National Stock Exchange on Thursday, closing 31.08% down at Rs 165.75 per share. In a statement early on Thursday, Jet Airways’ lenders, led by the State Bank of India, said they were “reasonably hopeful” that the bidding process will be able to determine “fair value of the enterprise in a transparent manner”.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Wednesday said it will support the resolution process within the existing regulatory framework. The ministry said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and other regulators are monitoring the situation carefully to ensure that all existing rules regarding refunds, cancellations, and alternate bookings are followed strictly.