Jet Airways' fateful descent accelerates; fuel supply to last just hours

Jet Airways

Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya on Wednesday extended his "sympathies" for debt-ridden Jet Airways and slammed the government for "discriminating" between private airlines and state-owned airlines (read Air India).

As of today, Jet Airways was operating less than 10 aircraft; down from 124 in December.

The rapid exodus of planes risks further eroding value from the carrier, even as lenders scurry to find an investor willing to buy a majority stake in the debt-laden airline and attempt to turn it around. Its fleet is reduced to just five aircrafts and it has suspended its global operations.

In its response to the airline's request for immediate funds, the lenders said, "The Expressions of Interest (EOI) have been received and bid documents have been issued to the eligible recipients today".

The airline was once India's second-biggest by market share but is on the brink of collapse with debts of more than $1 billion.

Jet's pilots along with engineers and senior staff were last paid for December 2018. Among the other things discussed were the steadily increasing fares on other airlines and flight cancellations with Jet Airways steadily reducing its operations.

Jet Airways stopped all of its worldwide flights over the last week.

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Jet Airways is all set to end its operations from tonight after the ldenrs rejected its appeal for additional funding to stay afloat.

Mallya said that he invested a large sum of money in Kingfisher to make its India's largest airline and admitted that it became possible only after he got loans from private as well as public sector banks. While the news are yet to be made official, Indian media already reports four companies have been shortlisted: Indigo Partners, National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF), TPG Capital, Indigo Partners, and Etihad Airways, which now holds 12% stake in the airline.

Jet Airways apologised to its customers for disruption of their plans, and said it will inform everybody through text messages or email. The airline, which has roughly 16,000 employees, has in recent weeks been forced to cancel hundreds of flights and to halt all flights to overseas destinations, as funds have dried up.

Earlier on Tuesday, Indian business channel BTVI said Jet's board had authorized Dube to seek a minimum of 4 billion rupees (S$78 million) in interim funding, and had advised him to ground the airline if no funds materialized. This, despite officials at the Ministry of Finance saying that banks are working on a package for Jet Airways and funds would be made available.

"We continue to work with Jet management, lenders and key stakeholders in the context of the lender-managed effort to restructure the company".

"The airline regrets the inconvenience caused to its guests", they added.

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