Jet Airways grounds several aircraft, services hit

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New Delhi, Feb 27  Beleaguered airline Jet Airways has grounded a “significant number” of aircraft, a senior Civil Aviation Ministry official said here on Wednesday.

According to the official, the airline did inform the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) about the grounding and the regulator is monitoring the situation.

Industry insiders said as many as eight aircraft have been grounded due to non-payment to lessors and the number might increase in the coming days.

Earlier, the airline had informed the stock exchanges it has grounded five aircraft. The grounding of additional three planes has impacted around 15 flights.

Some reports suggested airline may already have grounded more than 20 aircraft due to shortage of spare parts and inability to pay the lessors. This would mean a significant portion of the airlines’ fleet of 123 aircraft remains grounded. But official sources did not confirm these figures.

The airline is also disbursing monthly salaries to senior staff in a staggered manner and has been engaged with all its aircraft lessors to “regularly provide them with updates on efforts undertaken by the company to improve its liquidity”.

Lately, Jet Airways has been in a tight spot financially even as a rescue plan is being negotiated between the airline, its partner Etihad and a consortium of banks.

The latest development has come as the State Bank of India (SBI) is holding meeting at its headquarters with key stakeholders to take forward the proposal to convert a part its loans into shares.  – IANS

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