As Jet Airways goes on the block waiting for a buyer to take control of the beleaguered, cash-strapped airline, several domestic and global flights have been cancelled.
The airline had over the last few months suspended operations to more than 15 short haul worldwide destinations in the Gulf, south east Asia and SAARC countries. Jet Airways' last remaining long-haul flights, to London, Paris and Amsterdam, were cancelled on Thursday evening.
Acute financial crunch has forced the airline to not just ground three-fourths of its fleet, leading to massive flight cancellations, but to also delay all payments including salaries.
The airline has more than 100 aircraft in its fleet, and flies on 600 domestic and 380 global routes.
Now, with promoter Naresh Goyal stepping down as Chairman of the airline, Etihad Airways is once again said to have considered its position in the airline and may look to stay invested by submitting a bid. Goyal had last month agreed to pare down his stake to 25.5 percent for an emergency fund of Rs 1,500 crore from the lenders, and leave the board but the process is yet to be completed due to procedural delays. "Following this, there are no Jet flights to and from Kolkata, Patna, Guwahati and other airports in the region", said a travel industry source.
The firm also cancelled domestic flights between Mumbai and Kolkata and Kolkata and Guwahati for Friday citing the same reasons and said that refunds are being processed.
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The government rules stipulate an airline must have at least 20 planes for operating global operations.
Earlier, in the day the aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola told PTI that the ministry was awaiting a report from the DGCA to decide whether Jet can continue to fly on worldwide routes.
Of the 14 aircraft that it is operating as of Thursday, eight are wide-body B777s (seven) and an A330- generally used for long-haul global operations. You can check here if your flight on April 12 or 13 has been cancelled.
SBI Caps, on behalf of the lenders, had issued the expressions of interest on 8 April, and had Wednesday extended the deadline for submission of initial bids by two days to 12 April. Note that a foreign carrier can neither hold over 49 per cent in a domestic airline, nor effectively control it.
State-run banks have taken a temporary stake in the airline to keep it running, with lenders laying out terms for potential bidders for the carrier.
Jet Airways has posted losses in nine of the past 11 years and struggled to compete with low-priced carriers, with cumulative losses bloating to about US$1.6 billion (S$2.17 billion) as of end-March last year.