Currently operating 35 aircraft, Jet Airways may take the number to 75 by the end of this month in case it convinces lessors, who have grounded planes over unpaid dues. Airline officials met top aviation officials last week to give a roadmap of the next couple of months. The move came a day after Naresh Goyal stepped down from its board and then lenders agreed to give emergency fund of £150 million.
After meeting Jet officials along with DGCA chief BS Bhullar, Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said, "We are trying that in the summer peak travel season, the capacity crunch eases. We have observed fares on some sectors occasionally spiked up and have asked airlines not to do that. Jet officials said they will speak to lessors and hone to get 40 grounded plans back in operation by month-end. They will inform us by next week exactly how many plans lessors have allowed them to fly and by when."
The capacity crunch has been caused mostly by Jet groundings and later aggravated by SpiceJet Boeing 737 Max and GoAir A320 Neo groundings and cancellations of flights by other airlines like Air India and IndiGo. Kharola said the government is currently looking at giving the slots not being utilised by Jet in airports in India and abroad to other Indian carriers for a certain period. Before the crisis went out of control, Jet was operating 103 aircraft.
Kharola added, "If it is able to have 75 planes operational by next month, Jet will be operating almost 80 per cent of its fleet. Since the planes have been grounded for some time, we will ensure their airworthiness and safety before they get back in action." Meanwhile, Jet's board of directors said there will be immediate funding support of up to £150 million 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.