Not along ago the leading carrier in one of the world’s fastest growing aviation markets, India’s Jet Airways cancelled all international flights effective Thursday night and into Friday as the beleaguered airline was forced to ground planes due to dwindling cash reserves.
Leaving it with just 14 domestic aircraft, and the smallest fleet in a very competitive Indian market, the announcement comes as it is revealed that Jet cannot afford to refuel wide-body planes and meet other financial commitments required to operate international flights.
According to The Times of India, the minimum number of aircraft required for an international airline is 20, so India’s aviation ministry will review Jet’s eligibility to continue flying abroad.
In order for it to continue operating - on any level - India’s oldest surviving private airline needs the Rs 1,500-crore (AU$305m) emergency funding it was promised by its lenders in it entirety. Or, Jet sources have said the airline could shut down in a matter of days.
Jet Airways had 14 operational aircraft on Thursday, including six widebody B777s, but with all international flights suspended, Jet is currently only operating a couple of B737s and ATRs on some domestic routes.
“The stake sale process is on and even if the right bidder is found offering the right price, the process will take at least three to four months to reach its logical conclusion,” said a person in the know of developments.
“There is no way the airline can run for that long and wait for the new owner to pump in funds.”
According to India’s Economic Times, Etihad Airways has just formally announced its intention to raise a stake in the airline. But the Mumbai-based carrier must first survive.
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