With only 14 planes, Jet Airways cancels Singapore operations

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Jet Airways. (File Photo: Jet Airways)

Mumbai/New Delhi:  As the government is monitoring the operational situation at Jet Airways closely to ensure its compliance with overseas flying rules, the airline cancelled services on some international and domestic routes on Thursday.

According to official sources, the airline is currently operating only about 14 aircraft – down from 26 last week – and this might lead to suspension of its international operations.

As per rules, an airline needs to have a minimum of 20 aircraft to be eligible to operate international flights.

Till recently, the airline operated 26 aircraft, including Airbus A330s, Boeing 777s, 737-800 and ATRs, to various destinations like London, Toronto, Singapore, Amsterdam, Paris, Bangkok and domestic sectors like Mumbai-Delhi, among others.

It apparently owns 16 out of these 26 aircraft.

On its part, the airline has cancelled operations to and from Singapore and its flights to Kolkata and the Northeast.

“#ADVISORY: @jetairways (9W) has suspended its services to and from Singapore until further notice. Passengers are advised to contact their booking agent or the airline directly (info@jetairways.com) for available options,” the Changi Airport tweeted.

The airline, in a statement, also said: “Jet Airways’ flight 9W 615 Mumbai to Kolkata and 9W 675 Kolkata to Guwahati of tomorrow April 12, 2019, has been cancelled due to operational reasons.”

“Similarly, 9W 676 Dehradun to Kolkata via Guwahati has been cancelled on the same date until further notice. Guests have been duly informed and refunds are being processed. Jet Airways sincerely regrets inconvenience caused to its guests.”

Jet Airways is in the midst of a severe liquidity crisis that has affected its operations and resulted in the grounding of several of its aircraft.

The latest development comes a day after lenders of the debt-ridden airline tweaked the terms for stake sale and also extended the submission deadline for Expression of Interest bids from prospective buyers.

At present, the airline owes over Rs 8,000 crore to a consortium of lenders led by the State Bank of India.

On last Tuesday, the airline was served a legal notice by a section of its pilots demanding payment of salaries, due since January 1, 2019, by April 14.

Subsequently, its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vinay Dube said that the company is working with the lenders on the balance sheet restructuring plan and will inform the employees about the progress of the process by early next week.

Besides the employees, the airline’s aircraft lessors too are upset with the current financial situation, with some of them requesting the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to de-register their aircraft leased to the company.

The de-registration request section on the DGCA’s website on Thursday showed that lessors have applied to de-register 14 aircraft owing to unpaid dues. However, some lessors have also withdrawn their de-registration request.

If these aircraft come back to operations, aviation experts said that Jet could again have 21 aircraft in its fleet, the bare minimum required for overseas services.