Cash-strapped airline Jet Airways on Tuesday assured the government that it will strive to increase the seat-capacity in coming weeks. The airline has confirmed no more aircraft will be grounded without further notice.
“They (Jet Airways) have assured us that no more jets will be grounded. Today, 35 planes are flying,” said Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
“They will approach the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for the next one month to get the schedule approved for the 35 planes,” he added.
The meeting was held with Jet officials, State Bank of India Chairman Rajnish Kumar and DGCA chief B S Bhullar.
Kharola said that Jet has given a plan and is hopeful of flying 40 more planes by the end of next month. This would hike the capacity of the airline to about 80 per cent.
“It is an aggressive target,” he said.
“We have told them to sit with the lessors, plan the details and convince them to withdraw grounding notices. Once withdrawn, Jet will need to approach the DGCA, which will then authorise them to use the planes.”
The development came a day after Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita holding 51 per cent of the equity resigned from the board and transferred control to the lenders. An interim management committee has been created to manage and monitor daily operations and cash flow.
On Monday, Jet’s board of directors said there will be immediate funding support of up to Rs 1,500 crore by lenders by way of issue of appropriate debt instrument against the security of the assets of Jet Airways.
Jet has been suffering bruising competition from low-cost airlines, fluctuating crude prices and a weak rupee. The airline has over one billion dollars in debt and has to repay money to banks, lessors of planes and suppliers besides clearing pending salaries to its pilots.