MUMBAI, India – Jet Airways, which revolutionized Indian aviation after the monopoly of state-owned carriers was lifted, is about to shut down, devastated by management mistakes and low-cost airlines. followed it.
Without money and hopelessly looking for a buyer, Jet now operates only nine aircraft, according to the Press Trust of India, against 123 at its peak. The company had immobilized dozens of aircraft in recent weeks due to the deterioration of its finances. She canceled her last international flights at least Monday, disrupting travelers' plans between London and Hong Kong.
"The airline's management and key stakeholders, including its consortium of lenders, continue to work closely together to resolve the current situation," the company said in a statement. "Jet Airways regrets the inconvenience to its customers."
The prospects are dark.
"I do not see how it would be possible to reactivate it in this form," said Harsh Vardhan, chairman of Starair Consulting's board of directors and former chief executive of Vayudoot, a region-owned Indian airline that Closed two decades ago. "He must die of his own death before he can get a strategic buyer."
The more than 1,000 domestic pilots of the company, who have not been paid for three months, have threatened to stop working Monday, unless they receive their salary arrears. There is no money to pay them.
Naresh Goyal, a former travel agent, founded Jet 26 years ago. It has become the largest Indian carrier offering travelers a modern and efficient alternative to the poor service and unreliable schedules of government-owned carriers. But with the emergence of a new generation of low-cost airlines, Mr. Goyal has failed to adapt and has borrowed heavily to try to keep Jet as a premium carrier.
Mr. Goyal was forced to leave last month and Jet is now controlled by its lenders, which collectively owe about a billion dollars. Led by the State Bank of India, owned by the government, they are now trying to sell 75% of the company by the end of the month. Jet's main competitors showed little interest and the banks refused to provide promised interim financing of $ 217 million.
Aviation authorities have handed over Jet's main airport gates and jet slots to other airlines to increase capacity and lower fares, resulting in the elimination of so many seats. And the companies owning Jet's planes took over after the company failed to pay its rents.
The passengers were also burned, Jet having canceled flights at short notice. On Wednesday, a flight between Amsterdam and Mumbai was canceled just before boarding after the local Jet cargo handler seized the Boeing 777 for non-payment of debts.
The best hope of the airline could be an offer from Etihad Airways, a carrier based in Abu Dhabi that already owns 24% stake in Jet. Etihad is struggling with his own financial problems, but it has deep pockets: it belongs to the oil-rich government of Abu Dhabi. Jet's other major airline partners, Delta Air Lines, Air France and KLM, have so far shown no intention of joining the fray.
Any buyer will have trouble earning money. Indian travelers are paying close attention to prices and efficient low cost carriers such as IndiGo and SpiceJet will prevent Jet from charging extra for its full service offerings.
In addition, the trust that the company has built over decades has disappeared, said Ajay Awtaney, Jet's former loyal customer and founder of Live From a Lounge, an Indian business travel website.
"Even if someone manages to refuel the airline with money, the road will be long," he said. "It's not as if the passengers were going to queue and say now that things are going bad."